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Incorporating Environmental Justice into Rulemaking


To more effectively protect human health and the environment for overburdened populations by developing and implementing guidance to incorporate environmental justice into EPA’s rulemaking process. 

Read the implementation plan on rulemaking (PDF) (14 pp, 719K, About PDF).

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Plan EJ 2014 calls upon EPA to develop and implement guidance incorporating environmental justice into the fabric of its rulemaking process. EPA’s authority to create and enforce regulations that put the nation’s environmental laws into effect is one of the Agency’s most important and powerful tools for protecting human health and the environment.

EPA’s regulations cover a range of environmental and public health issues, from setting standards for clean water to controlling air pollution from industry and other sources. EPA’s regulatory authority combined with the mandates of Executive Order 12898 (PDF) (6 pp, 122K, About PDF) require the Agency consider environmental justice issues during the Agency’s rulemaking process.

EPA achieved a significant milestone in incorporating environmental justice into its rulemaking process when it issued the Interim Guidance on Incorporating Environmental Justice During the Development of an Action in July 2010. This guidance calls upon Agency rule writers and decision makers to consider environmental justice throughout all phases of a rule’s development – known as the Action Development Process (ADP) – from the point of its inception through all the stages leading to promulgation and implementation.

EPA is also developing technical guidance to assist rule writers and decision-makers in determining how to analyze and incorporate environmental justice in the Agency’s rulemaking processes.

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  1. Finalize the Interim Guidance on Considering Environmental Justice During the Development of an Action.

  2. Facilitate and monitor implementation of guidance on incorporating environmental justice into rulemaking.

  3. Develop technical guidance on how to conduct environmental justice assessments of rulemaking activities.

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Draft Technical Guidance in Rulemaking 

EPA has drafted technical guidance to help analysts evaluate potential environmental justice (EJ) concerns associated with EPA rules. The guidance is available for public comment.

The EJ Technical Guidance (EJTG) helps analysts assess potential environmental justice concerns associated with EPA rules. While an Interim Process Guide (PDF) (53 pp, 1MB, About PDF) provided direction on when EJ should be considered during rulemaking, this technical guidance addresses the issue of how to do so in an analytical fashion.

The guidance presents key analytic principles and definitions, best practices, and analytic questions to frame the consideration of EJ in rules. It is flexible enough to accommodate various data needs and limitations in Agency actions, while also adding rigor and consistency to the way EJ is considered in EPA actions.

A 60 day public comment period on the draft guidance began in early May 2013. This comment period has been extended for another 60 days, and will end on September 6, 2013.

In addition, the EPA will conduct a Science Advisory Board review of the guidance in June 2013. You can post comments on http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OA-2013-0320.

Two informational webinars on the EJ Technical Guidance were held on May 29, and June 6.

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