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EPA MUST CONSIDER RACE IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE STRATEGIC PLAN

NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2005

Clearinghouse Review CoverThe federal Environmental Protection Agency has proposed eliminating the consideration of race and ethnicity in environmental justice matters in the EPA’s “Framework for Integrating Environmental Justice,” and “Environmental Justice Strategic Plan Outline” (Strategic Plan). The EPA’s Strategic Plan defines environmental justice as the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” The concern lies in the word regardless. The field of environmental justice is based on the fact that people of color and the poor are more affected by environmental problems than others. The appropriate approach is found in the California statutory definition of environmental justice: “Environmental justice means the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”

The EPA must explicitly consider the impact of environmental laws, regulations, and policies on people of color and low income communities. The EPA cannot legitimately ignore race, ethnicity, color, national origin or income. The City Project’s public comments overwhelming demonstrate the need for the EPA to consider the impact of environmental laws, regulations, and policies on people of color and low income communities. Public comments can be found at www.cityprojectca.org/blog/wp-content/PublicCommentsEPAEJ.pdf. In response to public outcry, the EPA has agreed to hold local public hearings on its plans. Visit The City Project’s website at www.cityprojectca.org for regular updates.