2014 represents the 20th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 12898 on environmental justice.
Despite the signing a decade and a half before his election and after a bunch of hooting and hollering from EJ advocates about the inadequacy, setbacks and intentional positioned speed bumps of previous presidencies;with direction from (at that time newly elected) the President’s White House this environmental justice initiative birthed.
Today the process of permitting is subject to consideration in the Environmental Justice awareness and responsibility assignments. A permitting plan: PLAN EJ 2014: CONSIDERING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN PERMITTING has hit the presses. The plan self proclaims “to ensure that environmental justice concerns are given as full consideration as possible in the decision to issue a permit and the terms of the permits issued under [existing] federal environmental laws,”
The Draft Implementation Plan, EPA’s roadmap to integrate environmental justice (EJ) into its programs and policies is led from the Office of Air and Radiation and co chaired by the Office of General Counsel. The Steering Committee is chaired by Janet McCabe, Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation; Carol Ann Siciliano, Associate General Counsel, Cross‐Cutting Issues Law Office, Office of General Counsel; and Ira Leighton, Deputy Regional Administrator, Region 1.
The document is purported to have heavy emphasis on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) recommendations from both their responses to EPA’s permitting charge and numerous other prior NEJAC reports. From the EPA’s perspective the Administrator’s priority is for “Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice” for communities historically underrepresented in EPA decision‐making.
With proposed stakeholders as diverse and wide ranging as;
Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA)
Association of State and Territorial Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO)
Association of State & Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators (ASIWPCA)
Business organizations and trade associations
Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (CAAAC)
Community advocacy groups
Environmental Council of the States (ECOS)
Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC)
Inter Agency Working Group on Environmental Justice
National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA)
National Association for Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)
National Tribal Operations Committee (NTOC)
North American Hazardous Materials Management Association (NAHMMA)
Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA)
Other federal agencies
State, local, and tribal permitting agencies
PLAN EJ 2014 calls for “including environmental justice principles in all of (EPA’s) our decisions;” I muse at these multitude of reasons critics are calling for the neck of EPA with the budgetary axe to the extent of Governmental shutdown.