Regan Directs Agency to Integrate EJ in Plans and Actions

DHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen • Photo by Charlotte Observer

Michael Regan

EPA Administrator

Regan Directs Agency to Integrate EJ in Plans and Actions

April 8, 2021

In a press release on Wednesday, April 8, 2021, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan directed all EPA offices to clearly integrate environmental justice (EJ) considerations into their plans and actions. The directive comes in response to President Biden's January 20 Executive Order to advance racial equity and support underserved communities through the Federal Government. Regan called on all EPA offices to take these four steps:

  1. Strengthen enforcement of violations of cornerstone environmental statutes and civil rights laws in communities overburdened by pollution.
  2. Take immediate and affirmative steps to incorporate environmental justice considerations into their work, including assessing impacts to pollution-burdened, underserved, and Tribal communities in regulatory development processes and to consider regulatory options to maximize benefits to these communities.
  3. Take immediate and affirmative steps to improve early and more frequent engagement with pollution-burdened and underserved communities affected by agency rulemakings, permitting and enforcement decisions, and policies. Following President Biden’s memorandum on strengthening the Nation-to-Nation relationship with Tribal Nations, EPA staff should engage in regular, meaningful, and robust consultation with Tribal officials in the development of federal policies that have Tribal implications
  4. Consistent with the Administration’s Justice 40 initiative, consider and prioritize direct and indirect benefits to underserved communities in the development of requests for grant applications and in making grant award decisions, to the extent allowed by law.

In a message to all EPA staff, Regan said, “Too many communities whose residents are predominantly of color, Indigenous, or low-income continue to suffer from disproportionately high pollution levels and the resulting adverse health and environmental impacts. We must do better. This will be one of my top priorities as Administrator, and I expect it to be one of yours as well.”

Reuters reported that Regan said in a statement, “We must examine, and appropriately use, the full array of policy and legal tools at our disposal to incorporate environmental and climate justice considerations in our analysis, rulemaking, permitting, enforcement, grantmaking, operations, disaster response and recovery, and other activities.”



EPA Administrator Announces Agency Actions to Advance Environmental Justice
EPA News Release • Washington DC • Apr 7, 2021

President Biden's Executive Order
Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government • January 20, 2021

EPA's Environmental Justice Website

EPA chief directs agency to put focus on environmental justice
by Valerie Volcovici • Reuters • Apr 7, 2021