FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2021
Contact: Dana Johnson, email@example.com, 773 495 1677
WE ACT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE APPLAUDS THE CONFIRMATION OF
MICHAEL REGAN AS ADMINISTRATOR OF U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Organization Recommends Top 10 Actions that Regan can Take to Support EJ Communities
Washington D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Michael Regan to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. WE ACT for Environmental Justice co-founder and executive director, Peggy Shepard, provided the following response:
“We must return the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to its mission of protecting human health and the environment and ensure that equity and justice are central to that aim. We must have an EPA that brings rigor to the implementation and enforcement of standards so that cleaner and safer air, water and land and toxic-free environments are the norm in all communities in this country.
There has been very little collaboration and engagement of environmental justice advocates by the EPA within the past four years. I am pleased to have Michael Regan confirmed to lead the EPA and the opportunity to have meaningful and measurable actions taken to rebuild an agency that is central to improving the indoor and outdoor environments within communities of color and of low income. Below are the Top 10 actions that we recommend be advanced in the early part of Mr. Regan’s tenure:
- Visit regions affected by legacy pollution and health disparities to speak with those who are directly affected by the decisions made at the EPA.
- Increase the budget of the Office of Environmental Justice to be at least $20 million to support community revitalization and climate adaptation work in frontline and fenceline areas.
- Voice public support for legislation, such as the Environmental Justice for All Act, that requires consideration of cumulative impacts in permitting decisions under the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.
- Create an Office of Cumulative Impacts within the Office of Enforcement and Compliance to oversee the development and implementation of safeguards regarding cumulative impacts that includes a climate and environmental health focus.
- Rescind the Trump administration “Strengthening Transparency and Regulatory Science” rule that is more aptly named the “Suppressing (or Censoring) Science” rule.
- Adopt updated National Ambient Air Quality Standards that reflect scientific consensus and account for cumulative impacts. EPA should also close the loopholes that allow air pollution problems to persist.
- Update and strengthen regulations to control emissions of methane and volatile organic compounds from new and existing oil and gas drilling, production, transport, and storage facilities.
- Replace the Lead Copper Rule (LCR) with a directly-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for lead at the tap or overhaul the LCR to establish an enforceable timeline of no longer than 10 years to fully replace all lead service lines.
- We appreciate the EPA’s statement requesting more community input on the LCR and look forward to engaging with the agency to ensure our recommendations are included.
- Recommit the EPA to reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act by:
- Conducting comprehensive and rigorous risk evaluations of chemicals;
- Reinstating strong reviews of new chemicals;
- Putting strong, timely risk management rules in place;
- Taking immediate action on imminent hazards; and
- Ensuring timely public access to information on chemicals and EPA’s decisions on them.
- Develop budget proposals that increase its investment in:
- Integrated Risk Information System Program;
- Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers;
- Health and Environmental Risk Assessment Program’s Cumulative Risk work;
- Community-based Participatory Research; and
- Science and Technical Assistance supporting EJ and frontline communities through technical assistance grants or other sources.
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WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.