EPA reaffirms agency commitment to environmental justice

US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Whitman, in an August 18 memo to top agency officials reaffirmed the agency's commitment to environmental justice, the agency said recently. Whitman said environmental justice means fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes.


By the OGJ Online Staff

WASHINGTON, DC, Aug. 22 -- US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Whitman, in an Aug. 18 memo to top agency officials reaffirmed the agency's commitment to environmental justice, the agency said recently.

In the memo, Whitman said environmental justice means fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of all environmental laws and policies and their meaningful involvement in the decision making processes of the government.

Whitman said environmental statutes provide many opportunities to address pollution risks and hazards in minority or low-income communities.

"Application of these existing statutory provisions is an important part of this agency's effort to prevent those communities from being subject to disproportionately high and adverse impacts and environmental effects," Whitman said.

Fair treatment means that no group of people, including a racial, ethnic, or social economic group should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local and tribal programs and policies, she said.

"Environmental justice is achieved when everyone, regardless of race, culture, or income, enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work," Whitman said.

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