EPA Administrator Regan Meets with Mayor Lightfoot, Community Leaders in Chicago to Advance Environmental Justice
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan visited sites and held a series of meetings today with city and community leaders in Chicago to discuss ways EPA can help protect overburdened communities from pollution as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to environmental justice and building back better.
“For too long, too many people in Chicago have borne a disproportionate burden of pollution in their communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “I thank Mayor Lightfoot for hosting me today, and I am grateful to the community leaders I met with to hear firsthand their concerns. I look forward to continuing to work with local leaders and to visit communities affected by pollution, so their perspectives are accounted for in our work to advance environmental justice.”
Administrator Regan met with Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot ahead of a tour of the Jardine Water Purification Plant to highlight how President Biden’s American Jobs Plan can eliminate lead service lines, create new jobs, and invest in clean and safe drinking water. The American Jobs Plan promises modernized, safer water infrastructure through an $111 billion investment to revitalize drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater systems; tackle new contaminants, and support clean water infrastructure across America.
"Here in Chicago, environmental justice is a top priority as we work to uplift our residents and improve their quality of life," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "With the federal government's partnership, we can make even more progress in this mission by holistically tackling the issue of water pollution. I want to thank Administrator Regan for visiting our city to discuss this issue and I look forward to working closer with him and the EPA to bring about long-lasting, sustainable change to our communities."
Administrator Regan later joined Southeast Environmental Task Force Director Peggy Salazar for a tour of Chicago’s Southeast Side to see examples of progress addressing environmental concerns and work that remains to be done in an area historically overburdened with pollution. As part of the tour, Regan saw the proposed location of the Reserve Management Group (RMG) metal scrap facility, where the company is seeking to relocate from the North Side.
Regan and EPA Region 5 Acting Administrator Cheryl Newton also met with environmental justice advocates from across the city to hear their concerns and discuss ways EPA can support their efforts.
The Biden-Harris Administration has made a commitment to make environmental justice a part of the mission of every agency by directing federal agencies to develop programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic, and climate impacts on overburdened and vulnerable communities. EPA is committed to advancing environmental justice and incorporating equity considerations into all aspects of its work, including ongoing development of practices to better assess and consider impacts to pollution-burdened communities in analysis, permitting, and enforcement activities. EPA will live up to the promise of environmental and public health protection made to all people in our country upon the agency’s founding over 50 years ago.
For more information about environmental justice: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice.
For more information about the Southeast Side of Chicago: https://www.epa.gov/il/environmental-issues-southeast-chicago.