EPA Administrator Says Agency Has ‘A Lot to Prove’ on Environmental Justice

By Yessenia Funes Oct 28, 2016

The Environmental Protection Agency released its EJ 2020 Action Plan yesterday (October 27) and its administrator, Gina McCarthy, admitted that the “agency has a lot to prove,” in an exclusive interview with Grist.

The EPA has a long history of ignoring environmental health impacts on low-income and communities of color, and it is now rolling out the second version of a plan which aims to “advance environmental justice to a new level and make a more visible difference in the environmental and public health outcomes for all people in the nation,” its website reads. This will be accomplished, the EPA says, by keeping overburdened communities in mind for every decision the agency makes.

The story states:

McCarthy acknowledged that skeptics of the government’s commitment have history behind their doubts. Last month, for instance, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a scathing 230-page report documenting how the agency has forced communities to endure extreme delays or outright inaction when seeking respite from polluters.

A recent example of the EPA’s record with low-income communities of color is how it handled the poisoned water situation in Flint, Michigan. A report the EPA’s Office of Inspector General released last week found that the agency had enough information in June 2015 to issue an emergency order—yet it waited until January 2016 to do so.

Find the full Grist interview with McCarthy here.