Office of Environmental Justice & Reviving Supplemental Environmental Projects

by Luke Narducci and Amanda Reeve

On May 5, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (“USDOJ”) announced the launch of a new comprehensive environmental justice (“EJ”) strategy. The three-prong strategy, as laid out by the U.S. Attorney General in an internal memorandum, includes:  

  • The creation of The Office of Environmental Justice under the Environmental Natural Resources Division within the USDOJ, which will “serve as the central hub” in this new strategy.

Supplemental Environmental Projects (“SEPs”) are projects that are undertaken by an alleged violator as part of a settlement agreement to resolve an enforcement action. SEPs “provide tangible environmental or public health benefits to the affected community or environment, that is closely related to the violation being resolved, but goes beyond what is required under federal, state or local laws.”

Many states have a list of pre-approved SEPs from which a respondent (i.e. the alleged violator) may choose to pursue; or, alternatively, a respondent may develop and propose a SEP for approval by the regulating agency.  The following are just a few of the states that provide additional helpful information regarding SEPs:

Arizona – Maricopa County

California

Colorado

Nevada

Oregon

Texas

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