The EPA published its Equity Action Plan to fulfill President Biden’s Executive Order (EO) 13985 directing EPA, along with other federal agencies, to assess whether underserved communities and their members face systemic barriers in accessing benefits and opportunities through the federal government. This Equity Action Plan is a critical part of EPA’s efforts to break through those barriers and advance equity and justice across our efforts to ensure clean water, air, and land for all communities.

“This Equity Action Plan is a strong example of how EPA works with our federal partners to deliver on the commitments set forth by the Biden-Harris Administration,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA is working to live up to its promise to protect human health and the environment made to all people in our country more than 50 years ago. We can only do this by acknowledging the adverse effects of policies and regulations that have historically kept too many communities out of the room and leading the way in breaking down the barriers that have stood for far too long.”

The Equity Action Plan aligns with the Agency’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-2026 EPA Strategic Plan, announced March 28, 2022. EPA’s final Strategic Plan includes, for the first time, an unprecedented strategic goal to advance environmental justice and civil rights. The Equity Action Plan outlines six priority actions:

  • Develop a comprehensive framework for considering cumulative impacts in relevant EPA decisions and operationalize that framework in EPA’s programs and activities.
  • Build the capacity of underserved communities to provide their experience to EPA and implement community-led projects.
  • Develop EPA’s internal capacity to engage underserved communities and implement clear and accountable processes to act based on communities’ input.
  • Strengthen EPA’s external civil rights compliance program and ensure that civil rights compliance is an agency-wide responsibility.
  • Integrate participatory (community) science into EPA’s research and program implementation.
  • Make EPA’s procurement and contracting more equitable.

These priority actions form a critical foundation on which to build meaningful engagement with underserved communities; achieve more equitable and just outcomes, including pollution reductions in communities with environmental justice concerns; and deliver other tangible benefits to underserved communities.

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