Recent US EPA Actions Related to Environmental Justice

News & Events

On his first day as the US EPA Administrator, Michael S. Regan committed the Agency to prioritizing environmental justice (EJ).

Topics: 

Environmental Justice, Environmental Permitting,

Air Quality, Water, Risk Assessment 

NEWS ALERT

Recent US EPA Actions Related to Environmental Justice

On his first day as the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Administrator, Michael S. Regan committed the Agency to prioritizing environmental justice (EJ). Administrator Regan has directed the Agency to bring new attention to economic and racial inequities as viewed through the lens of US EPA policies. Given Administrator Regan’s pronouncement and President Biden’s focus on these issues, EJ is becoming increasingly integrated into environmental permitting for operations or siting, facility compliance, air monitoring, risk assessments, and federal environmental rulemaking. Significant resources at both the federal and state levels have been dedicated to developing tools that identify and respond to the concerns of communities potentially overburdened by environmental pollution issues. Companies are seeing this message and are eager to understand their roles in supporting this important vision.

Administrator Regan’s recent “Journey to Justice” tour provided further clarity on US EPA’s proposed actions related to inspections, air quality, and enforcement. Some of these actions include:

  • Launch a “Pollution Accountability Team” in Spring 2022 to conduct more air pollution monitoring and unannounced inspections of regulated facilities.
  • Use a Dallas, Texas-based plane equipped with air monitoring sensors to monitor areas suspected of failing to comply with environmental regulations.
  • Purchase additional mobile air monitoring equipment to monitor fenceline and ground-level air quality conditions.
  • Focus specifically on overburdened communities, primarily in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, with future expansion to other areas of the US.

Companies are using the US EPA actions identified in the tour to better scope how they might apply Administrator Regan’s EJ vision locally. Gradient is well positioned to help organizations identify and address EJ and facility-related issues. Specific areas of Gradient’s expertise relevant to EJ issues include:

  • design of air sampling programs, modeling of ambient air concentrations, and assessment of air pollution impacts;
  • application of EJ-related tools (EJSCREEN, RSEI);
  • baseline community health assessment (including sociodemographic factors);
  • water quality and water distribution system analysis;
  • EJ considerations in remedy selection;
  • risk communication; and
  • cumulative risk assessment (including evaluation of nonchemical stressors).

Caption: US EPA’s EJSCREEN Map of Particulate Matter (PM2.5) EJ Indexes (national percentiles) for Jackson, Mississippi

If you have questions about actions your organization might take to understand and prepare for the federal or state EJ initiatives, please contact Gradient:

 

Ari S. Lewis
Principal 
[email protected]

 

Julie Lemay
Senior Environmental Health Scientist
[email protected]

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