EPA Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda (EJ 2020) is the Agency’s environmental justice strategic plan for 2016 to 2020. The plan focuses on the environmental and public health issues for the nation’s minority, low-income, tribal and indigenous populations - and includes information on EPA’s climate justice initiatives. The goals of the agenda are to further integrate environmental justice considerations in all of the Agency’s programs; strengthen EPA’s collaboration with federal, state, tribal, community, and industry partners partners; and demonstrate progress on significant national challenges facing minority and low-income communities.

EJ 2020 consists of eight priority areas and four significant national environmental justice challenges - lead, air quality, drinking water, and hazardous waste.  The plan lays out the agency’s objectives, the strategies for achieving them, and how to measure success for each priority. EJ 2020 includes implementation plans for the eight priority areas, each of which will be led by a national program and regional office.

The plan describes the EPA’s initiatives to address climate change, which include a focus on climate justice - the intersection between climate change and environmental justice. In addition to reducing pollution and improving energy efficiency, EJ 2020’s climate justice work encompasses EPA efforts on building sustainable and resilient communities; conducting decision-relevant climate impact research to support communities; and sharing information, tools and technical assistance through partnerships with federal, state, tribal and local governments.

One of the strategies described is to: Advance efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change in vulnerable communities. EPA is focusing on identifying inter-relationships between social determinants of health, other non-chemical stressors, and chemical agents with respect to climate change-related impacts for vulnerable populations.

Tribes are considered vulnerable as well, and the agenda addresses how they may be disproportionately impacted by climate change.  EPA research and integration of tribal sustainability is focused in several areas:

    1. the use of traditional ecological knowledge for restoring and maintaining tribal lands and waterways;
    2. adaptation by tribes to the impacts of climate change;
    3. tribal health issues, including indoor air quality, asthma and use of indoor cookstoves; and
    4. collaborative development of decision support tools.

 

Publication Date: October 27, 2016

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