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Environmental Justice

What is Environmental Justice?

 

Environmental justice uses civil rights laws in conjunction with the enforcement of environmental laws to ensure that all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, receive the same protection from environmental laws, regulations, and policies, and enjoy equal access to healthy and safe communities that are free from environmental and health hazards.

 

Goals

  1. Protect environmental quality and human health in all communities;
  2. Use environmental, civil rights, criminal, and civil laws to achieve fair environmental protection;
  3. Promote and protect community members' rights to participate meaningfully in environmental decision-making that may affect them;
  4. Analyze data that will assist the Department in law enforcement, mediation, and counseling efforts involving environmental justice matters; and
  5. Promote full and fair enforcement of the laws, increase opportunity for access to environmental benefits, and minimize activities that result in a disproportionate distribution of environmental burdens.

 

Role of the U.S. Attorney’s Office

The U.S. Department of Justice enforces the Nation’s civil and criminal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and hazardous waste laws. We also protect natural resources, including the resources found in the national parks and monuments. Ensuring safe living and working conditions for our entire community is a priority of the Department and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of the Virgin Islands.

Working with federal and local law enforcement and our agency partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office seeks to secure environmental justice for everyone in the Virgin Islands by providing the same level of protection from environmental and health hazards to all our citizens and ensuring that all persons have equal access to a healthy environment in which to live, learn, play, and work.

 

How You Can Help

U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith encourages residents to contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (340) 774-5757 or email us at USAVI.EJ@usdoj.gov to report environmental, health and safety concerns. You may also contact the Department’s Environmental Crimes Section (USDOJ-ECS) at ECSEJ.ENRD@usdoj.gov or 202-305-0321. Notifying our office helps us protect the community from harmful violations of federal health and safety laws.

In addition to notifying the U.S. Attorney’s Office, please report safety concerns to the relevant agency. Depending on the type of violation, different federal agencies will be responsible for addressing the concern. Below is a list of relevant agencies and how to contact them.

 

Reporting Potential Violations

If the violation concerns air quality, climate change, health, water, chemicals, and toxins (including lead paint), or land, waste, and cleanup, contact the Environmental Protection Agency at https://echo.epa.gov/report-environmental-violations.

If the violation concerns an oil or chemical spill, contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-88022.

If the violation concerns a marine environment, contact the Coast Guard at https://www.p3tips.com/tipform.aspx?ID=878.

If the violation concerns pesticides harming wildlife, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (734) 995-0387, www.fws.gov/wildlife-crime-tips, or 1-800-344-9453.

If the violation concerns the destruction of wetlands, contact your local district branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Office at 1-800-832-7828.

If the violation concerns workplace conditions, such as chemicals or noxious fumes contact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at 1-800-321-6742.

If the violation concerns housing conditions, contact the Department of Housing & Urban Development – Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG) at 1-800-347-3735.

If the violation concerns transportation of hazardous materials or a pipeline, contact the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) at 1-800-424-9071 or hotline@oig.dot.gov.

If the violation concerns medications, cosmetics, biological products, and other products for human consumption, contact the FDA at 1-888-463-6332.

If the violation concerns discriminatory environmental and health impacts caused by recipients of federal funds, contact our office at USAMIE.EJ@usdoj.gov or 313-226-9634, or DOJ Civil Rights at 1-888-TITLE-06 (1-888-848-5306).

If the violation involves public corruption, contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at https://tips.fbi.gov/.

Updated November 3, 2022

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