Michael Regan, head of the agency, directed his reports in a new memo. He said that staff should “infuse equity and environmental justice principles and priorities into all EPA practices, policies, and programs” and should protect vulnerable communities using the “full array of policy and legal tools at our disposal.”
Source: CBS News/YouTube
“Too many communities whose residents are predominantly of color, Indigenous, or low-income continue to suffer from disproportionately high pollution levels and the resulting adverse health and environmental impacts,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan in a message to all agency staff. “We must do better. This will be one of my top priorities as Administrator, and I expect it to be one of yours as well.”
The memo included four steps for the EPA to take to combat environmental racism in “pollution-burdened, underserved, and Tribal communities,” including strongly enforcing environmental and civil rights laws, taking environmental justice and the impacted communities into account when considering regulations, working “to improve early and more frequent engagement” with said communities, and prioritize the communities in awarding grants.
The policy is part of a directive from President Biden to embed equity in programs and services to ensure fair treatment for all. The memo also came a few weeks after the EPA added the climate change website back.
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