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Environmental Justice

Plan EJ 2014: Advancing Environmental Justice through Compliance and Enforcement

EPA, through its Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), completed a comprehensive plan for integrating environmental justice into all aspects of the enforcement life cycle, from the selection and implementation of OECA’s work to remedies in enforcement actions, leading to significant benefits to overburdened communities. Using the enforcement life-cycle model, every enforcement office has developed guidance for incorporating environmental justice into its work.

Beyond 2014, OECA will sustain EPA’s efforts to advance EJ by continuing to integrate EJ into its program strategies, national enforcement priorities, civil and criminal enforcement activities, and compliance activities. OECA will continue to implement existing EJ tools and guidance in order to integrate EJ considerations throughout the enforcement life cycle.

As appropriate, OECA will further refine or develop tools and guidance to promote compliance with federal environmental laws and regulations. To enable broader integration of EJ, OECA will increase collaboration with other federal, state, tribal and local government partners, as appropriate. OECA will also support EPA’s Cross-Agency Strategy on Making a Visible Difference in Communities.

Read the implementation plan on compliance and enforcement initiatives (PDF) (26 pp, 805 K, About PDF)

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  • Reviewed, revised, or issued several internal guidances and policies to integrate environmental justice further into its standard business practices.
  • Finalized guidance that requires an environmental justice review for almost all initiated EPA enforcement cases and creation of a record of the results of the review in EPA’s enforcement data system. The guidance also served to successfully transition OECA to EJSCREEN, the Agency’s nationally consistent tool for screening information about areas with potential environmental justice concerns.
  • Incorporated environmental justice into its FY2014 National Program Guidance, with an Annual Commitment System measure for environmental justice
  • Developed and hosted two training programs to build staff capacity on how to integrate environmental justice into the civil regulatory enforcement program.
  • EPA addressed high priority, national environmental and compliance problems that make a difference, particularly in overburdened communities. For example:
    • City of Fort Smith, Arkansas - City will spend over $255 million to upgrade sewer collection and treatment system, which will reduce discharges of raw sewage and other pollutants into local waterways and help reduce direct exposures of low-income and minority communities to sewage discharges.
    • Shell Deer Park - settlement includes injunctive relief to reduce air pollution from flaring, mitigation projects to reduce air toxics and a SEP to install and operate fence-line monitoring stations so the community can know about pollution that affects them.
    • Tonawanda Coke Corporation - Tonawanda sentenced to pay $12.2 million in community service payments that will be used to fund an epidemiological study and an air and soil study to help determine the extent of health and environmental impacts of the coke facility on the Tonawanda community.

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