Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
What is meant by fair treatment and meaningful involvement?
- Fair treatment means that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies
- Meaningful Involvement means that:
- people have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health;
- the public’s contribution can influence the regulatory agency’s decision;
- their concerns will be considered in the decision making process; and
- the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected
EPA and Environmental Justice
EPA's goal is to provide an environment where all people enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to maintain a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
EPA's environmental justice mandate extends to all of the Agency's work, including setting standards, permitting facilities, awarding grants, issuing licenses and regulations and reviewing proposed actions by the federal agencies. EPA works with all stakeholders to constructively and collaboratively address environmental and public health issues and concerns. The Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) coordinates the Agency's efforts to integrate environmental justice into all policies, programs, and activities. OEJ's mission is to facilitate Agency efforts to protect environment and public health in minority, low-income, tribal and other vulnerable communities by integrating environmental justice in all programs, policies, and activities.
OEJ Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 1.8MB)
Learn more on the history of Environmental Justice...