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Acting AAG Bob Dreher Statement on EJ on the 20th Anniversary of Executive Order 12898
Even today, low-income and minority communities endure disproportionate burdens of pollution, resulting in greater health problems, obstacles to economic growth, and lower quality of life. And too often, they do not have full access to the decision-making processes that address these problems.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of President Bill Clinton’s Executive Order on “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations”. This historic document requires each federal agency to make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by addressing the disproportionate, adverse human health and environmental effects of its programs and policies in these communities.

In the Environment Division, we do this through strong enforcement of the Nation’s environmental laws and by defending federal agency programs that protect underserved communities. We evaluate all of our cases for potential environmental justice concerns and affirmatively seek solutions to them. We protect all communities from environmental harms by ensuring that the law is applied even-handedly in our cases. And we resolve our cases in the interest of affected communities by making sure they have a voice in remedies that affect their drinking water, the air they breathe, and the places they live and work. Through our work, we continue to ensure that all Americans – regardless of their race, ethnicity, or income – are fully protected under the Nation’s laws.

I encourage you to learn about how the Environment Division and the Department of Justice incorporate Environmental Justice into our work by reading our 2013 Implementation Progress Report on Environmental Justice. And throughout 2014, EPA will be hosting events throughout the country to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the landmark Executive Order on Environmental Justice. In 2011, we launched the Department’s Environmental Justice website where we post updates on the work we are doing on Environmental Justice. Please continue to visit our page to see what we are doing and join us in our mission to protect our environment and the human health of all Americans.

 

Last Updated: February 2014