EPA launches office for advancing environmental justice

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan in Warren County Saturday officially establishes the Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights. Photo: EPA

Many who fought for themselves and their neighbors in Warren County, along with environmental justice and civil rights leaders gathered Saturday, Sept. 24, to hear Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael S. Regan announce a new national office charged with advancing environmental justice and civil rights.

Environmental justice means fair treatment, or that no group should carry a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies, and meaningful involvement of all regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies, according to the EPA.

The new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights will oversee a $3 billion climate and environmental justice grant program created under the Inflation Reduction Act. The office is to be led by a Senate-confirmed assistant administrator yet to be nominated.

“I could not be prouder or more excited to announce today that EPA is creating a new national office charged with advancing environmental justice and civil rights,” Regan said Saturday. “We are elevating environmental justice and external civil rights to the highest levels of EPA, placing this critical work on equal structural footing with the Office of Air, Office of Water, and all of EPA’s other national program offices.”

Regan previously served as the state Department of Environmental Quality secretary before the Biden-Harris administration appointed him EPA administrator. 09-30-22

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