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Environmental Justice

EPA defines Environmental Justice (EJ) as “the fair treatment for people of all races, cultures, and incomes, regarding the development of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”

Related Links

EPA Environmental Justice Page

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC)

OSWER Community Engagement Initiative

Key Documents

OSWER EJ Action Plan

The Model Plan for Public Participation (20 pp, 464K, about PDF)

Sensitive Environments and the Siting of Hazardous Waste Management Facilities (PDF) (12 pp, 668K, about PDF) | Text Version (text file) | en Español (13 pp, 790K, about PDF)

The Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery considers environmental justice to be an integral part of its program. Our overall strategy consists of measures to identify, understand and address issues and concerns faced by environmental justice communities living near hazardous waste facilities.

We work closely with other program offices, our Regional offices, and the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) to stay abreast of issues affecting communities located near hazardous waste facilities.

While our aim includes enhancing environmental quality for all, our focus is to better address those disparities found in communities that have been disproportionately and adversely impacted from nearby hazardous waste disposal facilities. We believe that including the public and addressing community concerns early and often in the decision-making process, helps prevent and alleviate many issues environmental justice communities have experienced in the past.

Over the last decade, attention to the impact of environmental pollution on particular segments of our society has been steadily growing. Concern that minority populations and/or low-income populations bear a disproportionate amount of adverse health and environmental effects, led then President Clinton to issue Executive Order 12898 in 1994, focusing Federal agency attention on these issues. EPA responded by developing strategies and tools in an effort to address these concerns.

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