EPA Training Helps States Integrate EJ into Decision-Making

EPA Training Helps States Integrate EJ into Decision-Making

EPA Press Release

WASHINGTON (March 15, 2019) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced training to build the capacity of states to integrate environmental justice into their decision-making process. Over the next year, EPA will conduct a national webinar series developed in collaboration with state partners.

“From reducing lead exposure to cleaning up contaminated lands, EPA is prioritizing underserved communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental and public health risks,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This new training will help states identify, prioritize, and address the needs of at-risk communities facing immediate environmental and public health challenges.”

“South Carolina is proud to serve as a collaborative partner with the EPA as they unveil a new environmental justice training initiative for states. We are pleased the EPA is taking this important step to increase understanding of tools and resources that can be applied to address the needs of environmental justice communities,” said South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control Director of Environmental Affairs Myra Reece.

The five national training webinars, which will be accessible through a publicly available website, will serve as an ongoing resource for state staff and others interested in developing their environmental justice knowledge and expertise. Planned topics include identifying and prioritizing environmentally-impacted and vulnerable communities, enhancing community involvement in the regulatory process, using an area-wide planning approach to promote equitable development, and application of environmental justice to state environmental impact assessments. To complement the online trainings, EPA Regions will conduct training on environmental justice for their respective states.

For many years, EPA has heard from its state partners about the need for systematic training on environmental justice principles, methods, and practices. Many groups, including frontline communities, have called for EPA to focus on state collaborations as an important part of its environmental justice work. This new training recognizes that success in addressing many environmental justice challenges depends heavily on states and supports EPA’s strategic vision for environmental justice as outlined in the Agency’s strategic plan.