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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Region 9 Strategic Plan, 2011-14

Environmental Justice

playground with smocking stacks in the background

In January 2010, former Administrator Lisa P. Jackson made Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice one of EPA's priorities. The Administrator directed the Agency to address the needs of overburdened communities by decreasing environmental burdens, increasing environmental benefits, and working alongside them to build healthy, sustainable and green communities.

February 2014 will mark the 20th anniversary of the Clinton Administration's Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. The Executive Order calls on each federal agency to "make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities…" In recognition of this anniversary, EPA has developed Plan EJ 2014, a comprehensive strategy to improve the environmental conditions and public health in overburdened communities. Plan EJ 2014 is a roadmap to help EPA integrate environmental justice into its programs, policies and activities.

Heart disease, cancer, and respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, are three of the top four deadliest health threats in America, and all three are linked to environmental causes including air pollution. All three also have an overwhelming impact on minority and low income communities. We will address these environmental justice issues through the following:

  • By October 2012, use EJ small grants to support environmental problem solving in at least 16 Region 9 communities.
  • By Spring 2012, screen two Region 9 geographic priority areas to identify communities with the highest social vulnerability, exposure to environmental pollutants, and health impacts for enhanced EPA oversight of state permitting and increased inspections.
  • By October 2012, validate an Environmental Justice Screening Method, designed by academia to identify EJ hot spots, through support of three communities in ground-truthing the data.
  • By 2013, improve the health of those who work in or around pesticides by reducing the number of people affected by moderate to severe pesticide exposure incidents by 10% by funding training for at least 50 trainers, who will in turn educate an additional 2,500 farm workers on pesticide safety.

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