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Environmental Justice

Plan EJ 2014: Legal Tools Development

President Clinton directed that federal agencies should utilize existing environmental and civil rights authorities to carry out the mandate of EO 12898, as communicated in his memorandum accompanying the executive order. An understanding of the Agency’s legal tools for achieving EJ is critical because EO 12898 itself is not a source of authority. By issuing the EJ Legal Tools document, EPA clarified how existing environmental statutes provide opportunities to address environmental hazards in minority communities and low-income communities.

Read the implementation plan on legal tools development (PDF)(8 pp, 499 K, About PDF)

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EPA’s General Counsel issued the EJ Legal Tools document in 2011, EPA’s first compilation of the discretionary legal authorities that may be available to the EPA to address environmental justice. It covers key legal statutory and regulatory authorities that are relevant to EPA’s programs along with its environmental review, grants and tribal responsibilities.

 In response to Plan EJ 2014, this document consolidated, updated and expanded on the Office of General Counsel’s (OGC) past work on the subject of environmental justice, begun twenty years ago.

Former EPA General Counsel Scott Fulton Remarks on the Legal Tools - EPA's Former General Counsel Scott Fulton spoke about the importance of Environmental Justice and EPA's legal tools to advance Environmental Justice on February 23, 2012 at the National Press Club.

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