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Obama Administration Strengthens Environmental Justice Efforts →


“Federal agencies today (February) released environmental justice strategies, implementation plans and progress reports, outlining steps they will take to protect communities facing serious health and environmental risks, particularly low-income, minority and tribal populations.

Led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the agency heads say these strategies will integrate environmental justice into federal decision making and transportation, labor, health services and housing programs.

“Working together we have been able to make environmental justice a focus not just for EPA, but for agencies across the administration,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson. “Each of our federal partners plays a unique role in serving the American people, and each has a unique opportunity to ensure that our communities get the health and environmental protections they deserve.”…

Federal agencies have reviewed their portfolios to assess how their programs, policies, and activities may have disproportionately adverse health and environmental effects.

Through this review, they have identified strategies, programs and initiatives, to reduce environmental or health hazards, ensure access to beneficial programs, and increase community participation in agency decision-making.

    • The Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration is finalizing an environmental justice circular to help grantees determine whether there are any minority or low-income populations that may be adversely affected by a transit project or decision. The Federal Highway Administration is working with the National Highway Institute to revamp their course on environmental justice and Title VI.
    • The U.S. Department of Labor is translating educational materials and hazard alerts into Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese to ensure that minority workers have access to information they need to avoid environmental hazards on the job.
    • The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pueblo Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico, provides four tribal governments the opportunity to run pollution monitoring programs and provide technical input on National Nuclear Security Administration decisions.
    • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is helping to provide green jobs and workforce development opportunities for veterans in minority and low-income communities.
    • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with communities to use Health Impact Assessments, to help proactively address the potential impacts a policy or project might have on minority and low income populations. For example, in Baltimore, Maryland work is under way to evaluate the human health impact of a vacant property redevelopment program.

Read the rest at Environmental News Service

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