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Environmental Justice

About EJ 2020

The EJ 2020 Action Agenda (EJ 2020) is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2016 – 2020 strategic plan for advancing environmental justice. 

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What is EJ 2020?

The EJ 2020 Action Agenda (EJ 2020), EPA’s strategic plan for advancing environmental justice from the years 2016-2020, plays an integral part in fulfilling the agency’s mission by focusing our attention on the environmental and public health issues and challenges confronting the nation’s minority, low-income, tribal and indigenous populations.

EJ 2020 consists of eight priority areas and four significant national environmental justice challenges; each of these areas have laid out the agency’s objectives, the plans for achieving them, and how we will measure success. EPA expects to periodically review and, as appropriate revise, the actions we undertake to meet these goals. Every national program and region has assumed the responsibility of co-leading at least one of the plan’s priority areas; leadership responsibilities are included in each section.   

Over the next five years, EPA will advance environmental justice to a new level and make a more visible difference in the environmental and public health outcomes for all people in the nation. Strengthening our collaborations with the communities we serve, our governmental partners and interested stakeholders will be key to achieving this vision.

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Building on Past Work

EJ 2020 will build on the foundation established by EPA’s Plan EJ 2014, the Agency’s environmental justice strategic plan for 2010-2014, as well as decades of significant environmental justice practice by the Agency, communities and our partners. Through Plan EJ 2014, EPA developed a comprehensive suite of basic guidance and tools that integrate environmental justice in EPA’s programs and policies. Over the next five years, we will make a bigger visible difference in overburdened communities by deepening environmental justice practice within EPA’s programs and expanding our partnerships outside of the Agency. 

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By 2020, we envision an EPA that integrates environmental justice into everything we do, cultivates strong partnerships to improve on-the-ground results, and charts a path forward for achieving better environmental outcomes and reducing disparities in the nation’s most overburdened communities. Achieving this vision will help to make our vulnerable, environmentally burdened, and economically disadvantaged communities healthier, cleaner and more sustainable places in which to live, work, play and learn.


Illustration of 3 goals of EJ 2020Click to enlarge imageTo achieve our vision for 2020, we will focus on a set of priorities that the Agency has identified for high-level attention over the next five years to strategically move EPA’s environmental justice practice to the next level. These priorities are structured around three goals:

  1. Deepen environmental justice practice within EPA programs to improve the health and environment of overburdened communities;
  2. Work with partners to expand our positive impact within overburdened communities; and
  3. Demonstrate progress on significant national environmental justice challenges.

EJ 2020 is structured around implementations plans for eight priority areas along with our work to address four significant national environmental justice challenges. Each of the eight priority area implementation plans will be led by a national program and regional office. Because environmental justice is a cross-agency endeavor, responsibility for the success of each priority area rests with all national programs and regional offices.   

EPA recognizes that achieving our vision for 2020 is part of a long journey. We are building on several decades of robust environmental justice practice, spearheaded by communities themselves, by our partners in government, academia and industry, and within EPA.  

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Key Results

Through EJ 2020, EPA will advance our environmental justice efforts to a new level in improving the health and environment of overburdened communities. By 2020, we will:

  • Improve on-the-ground results for overburdened communities through reduced impacts and enhanced benefits
  • Institutionalize environmental justice integration in EPA decision-making
  • Build robust partnerships with states, tribes and local governments
  • Strengthen our ability to take action on environmental justice and cumulative impacts
  • Better address complex national environmental justice issues.

Our vision of how EPA will make a difference in the environmental and public health landscape over the next five years is detailed on the key results page of the plan.

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