The initiative, which Regan is detailing in a memo to
The goal is “integrating environmental justice and equity into the very DNA of EPA,” Regan said in an interview Tuesday with
While the weight of promoting environmental justice and equity isn’t being heaped on a single agency, the EPA plays a critical role, Regan said.
“There are a lot of issues that plague our disproportionately impacted communities, and EPA is one of many players that can come to the table and look at existing laws and regulations to be sure we’re doing all that we can for these communities,” he said. That includes spending time in communities to better understand their concerns, partnering with states to address them and even bringing in refineries and other businesses regulated by EPA to consider ways to improve, Regan said.
Regan, who is the first Black man to run the EPA, is
EPA staff are also being asked to change the way they distribute grants and solicit applications so that underserved communities are prioritized. And Regan is emphasizing how offices should work to consult early and often with affected communities and tribal nations.
The effort is just one of many coming steps to ensure environmental justice considerations are built into the EPA’s daily work.
“That’s part of my charge to senior leadership here at EPA,” Regan said. “As we evaluate these key opportunities in areas of enforcement, rulemaking, permitting, contracting and procurement, I would like for them to do a very thorough evaluation of where the shortcomings are, where the opportunities are and develop those benchmarks that will determine and define success.”
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