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EPA Releases Final Environmental Justice and Rulemaking Guidance

06/03/15

Source: SOCMA
Related Topics: US Environmental Protection Agency
Yesterday, EPA unveiled its final Guidance on Considering Environmental Justice During the Development of a Regulatory Action.   It can be found here.

EPA notes that the guidance was created “to ensure understanding and foster consistency with efforts across EPA's programs and regions to consider environmental justice and make a visible difference in America's communities.” (EPA’s Interim Guidance on Considering Environmental Justice During the Development of an Action had been released in July 2010.)  The Agency describes the Guidance as “a step-by-step guide that helps EPA staff ask questions and evaluate environmental justice considerations at key points in the rulemaking process. It helps EPA staff determine whether actions raise possible environmental justice concerns and encourages public participation in the rulemaking process.”

EPA touts “key improvements” from the interim guidance such as:
  • Improved definitions of the populations of concern;
  • Refined discussion of the factors that contribute to potential environmental justice concerns;
  • Refined direction on when and to what extent environmental justice needs to be considered in the rulemaking process;
  • Recommendations added for how to meaningfully engage minority, low-income and indigenous populations and tribes;
  • Suggestions added on overcoming barriers to considering environmental justice in the rulemaking process; and
  • References added to new tools that were not available when the Interim Guidance was released, including EJ legal Tools and EJSCREEN.






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