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Environmental Justice

EJ 2020 Implementation

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Stakeholder Engagement

Image of men throwing bag of trash in a dumpsterVibrant stakeholder engagement is the backbone of EJ 2020 and robust partnerships are essential to achieve meaningful outcomes for overburdened communities. EPA recognizes that stakeholder engagement does not end once the public comment period has closed. EPA will meaningfully engage stakeholders – early on and throughout the implementation of EJ 2020 and within our programs and regions. Our goal is to create ongoing opportunities for dialogue and collaborations with stakeholders and partners - through meetings, roundtables and focus groups – to provide input on EPA’s priorities and discuss how EPA is demonstrating progress.

In EJ 2020, EPA will also enhance opportunities for community engagement, including community involvement in EPA rulemaking and permitting processes, community-based participatory research and citizen science, and the development of outcome measures that are meaningful to communities. In addition, EPA anticipates working closely with federal, state, tribal and local government partners, communities, and other stakeholders in our second phase efforts of Goal III to demonstrate progress on significant environmental justice challenges.

To learn more about the environmental justice efforts within the EPA and in collaboration with stakeholders and partners outside of the Agency, please visit and sign up for alerts at the bottom of our Environmental Justice in Action blog.

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Building Partnerships

Working with partners to expand our positive impact within overburdened communities is the second major goal of EJ 2020. EPA will work with state, tribal and other co-regulatory partners to improve the health and environment of the nation’s most overburdened communities. Through mutual learning, EPA will work with states to develop an agreed-upon: 

  • set of tools
  • approaches
  • best practices
  • shared expectations

to collaboratively advance environmental justice efforts. EPA will also work with tribes, consistent with its 1984 Indian Policy, to enhance tribal capacity, coordination and action to address environmental justice concerns in areas of interest to tribes and indigenous peoples. In addition, EPA will work with business, industry, community groups and other partners to help make a more visible difference in communities.

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Best Practices

With a significant history of working closely with communities, EPA has learned many lessons on how to carry out our mission of protecting health and the environment. In EJ 2020, EPA seeks to apply this expertise and knowledge from all parts of the Agency to build healthier, more prosperous and sustainable places to live, work and play. To advance these efforts to a new level, we will also work with our state, tribal and other co-regulatory partners to jointly implement a set of best practices to improve the health and environment of the nation’s most overburdened communities by 2020.

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Measures

Since EPA recognizes the need for a more systematic approach to reducing environmental and health disparities, demonstrating progress on significant national environmental justice challenges is the third major goal of EJ 2020. To address complex and continuing national environmental and health problems, EPA will take a two-phased approach.

In the first phase, EPA will work closely with our state, tribal and other co-regulatory partners with authority towards achieving progress in four key areas:

  • lead
  • drinking water
  • air quality
  • hazardous waste sites 

In the second phase, EPA will evaluate progress on achieving our current goals, enhance measures as appropriate, and explore potential development of additional national environmental justice measures and associated strategies.

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Reporting

To increase transparency and accountability with stakeholders, EPA will report updates and program-specific actions through our website and provide regular newsletters discussing implementation. EPA will issue annual public progress reports on the implementation of EJ 2020 that demonstrate progress to communities and collaborations with our partners. The annual progress reports will provide information from each of the EJ 2020 priority areas and will be coordinated by the Office of Environmental Justice.

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