EPA Continues to Explore Ways of Better Incorporating Environmental Justice Considerations Into Its Rulemaking
Related Topics: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) US Environmental Protection Agency
As seen in how the Definition of Solid Waste Rule (DSW) has gotten linked to environmental justice (EJ) issues, environmental justice remains a top priority for the agency, and that is reflected in recent actions.
Specifically, in a report released at the end of June, EPA revealed that it has established an intra-agency workgroup “to review recommendations from environmental justice advocates to better incorporate considerations of low-income and minority populations into its rulemaking process.” [The recommendations derive from a March symposium to address disproportionate impacts on poor or minority communities during the rulemaking process. EPA had promised to report back on the recommendations within 100 days.]
The report suggests that the work group is evaluating recommendations for including such communities earlier in the rulemaking process, developing measurements to quantify environmental justice gains, and crafting multi-pollutant, multimedia rules that address several health hazards at once.
EPA has indicated that it intends to issue final guidance this year to its staff. The guidance “is expected to require discussions of environmental justice impacts and how they were analyzed and addressed by EPA staff in the preamble of proposed rules. The guidance would require EPA staff to consider and analyze any potential environmental justice aspects of rules that are either being considered or proposed and reach out to appropriate community groups during the proposal process to discuss whether those impacts should be addressed by the agency.” The guidance is expected to be issued this month.
EPA will accept comments on the recommendations from the March symposium as well as its 100-day report until August 15. Comments can be made at http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/multimedia/albums/epa/disproportionate-impacts-symposium.html.
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