The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be doing more to fight the environmental injustice spreading throughout our country. Right now with all of the budget cuts that are forced to happen due to the recession and need for Jobs, it probably won’t happen for awhile. The injustice due to toxic dumping and other pollutants are not being handled as swiftly as they should be handled.
The reason for that is because the area that is affected is not a big campaign contributor to a state or government politician. There has always been and always will be institutionalized racism or classicism, because only certain classes of people are affected by corporate waste. Yes, they should do more First thing we need to understand is who is the EPA and what powers do they actually have to do more. The EPA was officially formed on December 2, 1970 by then president Richard Nixon. The agency is led by its administrator, who is appointed by the President and approved by Congress.
The current administrator is Lisa P. Jackson. The EPA is not a Cabinet department, but the administrator is normally given cabinet rank. The agency has approximately 18,000 full-time employees. The EPA has fourteen offices and has 10 regions that cover the entire United States of America. Pea’s goal is to provide an environment where all people enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision- making process to maintain a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
Pea’s environmental Justice mandate extends to all of the Agency’s work, including setting standards, permitting facilities, awarding grants, issuing licenses and regulations and reviewing proposed actions by the federal agencies. EPA works with all stakeholders to constructively and collaboratively address environmental and public health issues and concerns. The Office of Environmental Justice (JOE) coordinates the Agency’s efforts to integrate environmental Justice into all policies, programs, and activities.
The Office also provides information, technical and financial resources to assist and enable the Agency to meet its environmental Justice goals of criminal investigations within the EPA is the office that is responsible for the slighted injustices that happen throughout this country. We tend to look at the EPA as whole of not doing enough to halt injustices, but it is the one office within the EPA that should shoulder this criticism. The EPA has to step up their volume of cases of injustice to see a level of the playing field.
The issue is not with what the EPA is trying to do to deter environmental injustice, but the enforcement of those acts that are put into law. This is where the criticism of the EPA not doing enough for the minorities originates. If the EPA Criminal Investigation Division steps up their enforcement, then there would be less to analyze as discriminatory procedures. Here is an excerpt from their January 12, 1994 memorandum which in a nutshell shows why the minority communities are up in arms about the slow pace of environmental Justice. While a history of repeated violations is not a prerequisite to a criminal investigation, a potential target’s compliance record should always be carefully examined. When repeated enforcement activities or actions, by EPA, or other federal, state, and local enforcement authorities, have failed to bring a violator into compliance, criminal investigation may be warranted. Clearly a history of repeated violations will enhance he government’s capacity to prove that the violator was aware of environmental regulatory requirements, had actual notices of violations and then acted in a deliberate disregard of those requirements”.
What is this excerpt telling you, you need to be a repeat offender to warrant an investigation? Not that if you violate that they would actually investigate your company. Why don’t they install an environmental office within every corporation Just like they do human resources? There is a concern about employee rights, but what about the right of the civilians hat are harmed due to toxic waste being produced and dumped in their neighborhood?
Analyzing the memo further shows more loopholes than the income tax regulation, this is what the minorities are also seeing as systematic racism. It still boils down to big business and deep pockets; moreover you see cases that are 20 years old finally finding closure. The problem with that is the plaintiffs are either now dead or too sick to see Justice. Numerous studies have documented that people of color in the United States are disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards in their homes, neighborhoods and workplace.
For example, in 1982 in Warren County, North Carolina, poor black and native America communities held demonstrations in protest of a poorly planned PC (Polycarbonate phenyl) disposal site. This incident kicked off the environmental Justice movement, which has grown to include numerous local, regional, national, and international groups. In December 2005, the Associated Press released results from its study, More Blacks Live with Pollution, showing African Americans are 79 percent more likely than whites to live in neighborhoods where industrial pollution is suspected of posing the retreat health danger.
Using the Pea’s own date and government scientist, the AP study found blacks in 19 states were more than twice as likely as whites to live in neighborhoods with high pollution; a similar pattern was discovered for Hispanics in 12 states and Asians in 7 states (Gaston, 2009). Robert Ballard cited Up’s oil spill waste summary, which said that as of July 1 5, more than 39,448 tons of oil garbage had More than half (5 out of 9) of the landfills receiving BP oil-spill solid waste are in communities where people of color comprise a majority of residents living within ear the waste facilities.
In addition, a significantly large share of the BP oil-spill waste, 24,071 tons out of 39,448 tons (61 percent), is dumped in people of color communities. “This is not a small point,” Ballard wrote, “since African Americans make up Just 22 percent of the coastal counties in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana, while people of color comprise about 26 percent of the population in coastal counties. ” The Office of the Inspector General did an evaluation report on the EPA to have them conduct a review of their programs and policies.
Environmental Justice reviews ND seeks to identify and address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority and low income populations. The 1994 Executive Order 12898, federal action to address environmental Justice in minority populations and low income populations, directs agencies to make environmental Justice part of their mission by reviewing the effects of their programs on minority and low income populations. This document dated September 18, 2006 touches on what we are saying about the EPA needing to more about environmental injustice.
Here is an excerpt from the document: In August 2001 , the EPA Administrator issued a memorandum reaffirming the Agency’s commitment to environmental Justice. This memorandum directed EPA to conduct its programs, policies, and activities that substantially affect human health and the environment in a manner that ensures the fair treatment of all people, including minority and low-income populations. In addition, the memorandum directed EPA to improve its research and data collection relating to the health of all people, including minority and low-income populations.
Four years later, on November 4, 2005, the EPA Administrator issued another memorandum reaffirming the Agency’s commitment to environmental Justice and erecting Agency officials “to implement [EPA] programs and activities to ensure that they do not adversely affect populations with critical environmental and public health issues, including minority and low-income communities. No, the EPA is doing enough The testimony of Grant Y. Mayans before the Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials Committee on Energy and Commerce sounds like the EPA is doing more to help minorities. The EPA places great importance on integrating environmental Justice into its work, and the EPA will continue to integrate environmental Justice considerations into the Agency’s core programs, policies and activities and to engage others in collaborative problem-solving to address environmental Justice concerns at every turn. Whenever and wherever we address environmental Justice issues, we strive to build staying power in those communities and share any lessons learned with others”. Environmental Justice was integrated into the Pea’s mission on November 4, 2005.
EPA has made transparent, measurable, and accountable environmental Justice commitments and targets in all five goals of Pea’s Strategic Plan for 2006 – 2011. EPA is taking actions to obtain the best available environmental Justice advice and to impart any lessons learned to those who can work with them to address environmental Justice issues at the federal, state, and local levels (Gaston, 2009). Solve environmental issues. Superfine is the name given to the environmental program established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites.
It is also the name of the fund established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCAL statute). This law was enacted in the wake of the discovery of toxic waste dumps such as Love Canal and Times Beach in the sass. It allows the EPA to clean up such sites and to compel responsible parties to perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-lead cleanups. The small grants program supports and empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues.
The Program assists recipients in building collaborative partnerships to help them understand and address environmental and public health issues in their communities. Successful collaborative partnerships involve not only well-designed strategic plans to build, maintain and sustain the partnerships, but also to work towards addressing the local environmental and public health issues. Fiscal Year 2009 marked the 15th anniversary of Pea’s Environmental Justice Small Grants Program (SEES).
Since its inception in 1994, the Program has awarded more than $20 million in funding to 1 , 130 community-based organizations, and local and tribal organizations working with communities who are facing environmental Justice issues. In 2004, the Office of Environmental Justice (JOE) of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a grant program to provide direct financial and technical assistance to selected community-based organizations. JOE established a cooperative agreement program around the framework of the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem- Solving Model (COPS Model).
The concepts of collaborative problem-solving were initially examined by EPA and other federal agencies through the Federal Interagency Working Group (GIG) on Environmental Justice after gathering accomplishments and many lessons learned from the Swig’s 30 demonstration projects in communities around the country. Since then, JOE has developed the COPS Model into an effective approach to addressing local environmental and/or public health issues in a elaborative manner with various stakeholders such as communities, industry, academic institutions, and others.
There are many more programs like these that the EPA has collaborated with other agencies to help promote environmental Justice. The EPA is doing all they can within their budgetary restraints to help curve the environmental injustice that has been occurring in the past and the present. Conclusion Each side of this issue has its evidence to say environmental injustice is or is not being handled appropriately. Environmental Justice advocates make the argument hat minority populations often undertake environmentally hazardous activities because they have few economic alternatives and are/or not fully aware of the risks involved.
A combination of this lack of awareness coupled with their relative lack of political and economic power makes poor minority communities a frequent target for environmentally hazardous activities. Those who question the validity of the impact of environmental racism argue that environmental issues historically have been less important for minority groups faced with pressing socioeconomic issues such as education, drug abuse, crime and unemployment. Under representation in private placing environmental injustices low on their list of priorities.