Environmental Justice Coming into Focus Under Biden’s USEPA

by Amanda Reeve and Lucas J. Narducci

In its June 25, 2021 Press Release, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) presented its plan for utilizing $50 million dollars, allocated to the agency under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021/Covid-19 stimulus package, to Environmental Justice (“EJ”) initiatives. The USEPA’s goal is to quickly dispense these funds in a manner that will assist under-resourced communities. The USEPA states it will use the funding to “leverage important programs that improve air quality, drinking water, revitalization of brownfields, diesel emissions from buses in low income communities and communities of color.”

The USEPA provides the following breakdown of its proposed allocation for its EJ initiatives:

($) Allocation Proposed Initiative
16.7 million Fund EJ grants
7 million Fund electric school busses via the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (“DERA”) to reduce diesel pollution
5.1 million Expand civil and criminal enforcement
5 million Helping communities with revitalization of Brownfields
4.9 million Fund projects in vulnerable communities geared towards reducing children’s environmental exposure and health risks
4.7 million Fund drinking water and compliance monitoring in rural and tribal areas
2.2 million Support the USEPA’s community driven solutions effort to collaboratively address air and water issues in underserved communities
1.6 million Support the EJ Small Program grants
1 million Administrative costs
720,000 Enhancement of the Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool (“EJSCREEN”)
700,000 Allocated for a climate protection program
500,000 Support new methods of outreach and support related to performing analysis and outreach in the oil and gas sector

As always, there will be further direction and guidance with respect to these initiatives and as that develops, we will strive to provide additional information that may impact you, your business, or your community.

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