WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — The U.S. Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency announced a new comprehensive strategy Wednesday to ensure minorities and low-income Americans don’t continue to suffer the worst impacts of pollution and climate change.
With the creation of the new office of environmental justice, the Biden administration is targetting violators of environmental laws and polluters responsible for toxic waste.
“No American should have to live, work or send their kids to school in a neighborhood that carries a disproportionate share of environmental hazards,” said U.S Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta. “(The strategy) also requires all 93 U.S. attorneys across the country to designate an environmental justice coordinator to help identify areas of concern in their communities.
Administration officials said minorities and low-income Americans are impacted the most by environmental crimes, pollution and climate change.
“I’m talking about children going to school right next door to chemical plants. Generations of family members diagnosed with cancer likely connected to the pollution in the air they breathe or the water they drink,” said EPA administrator Michael Regan.
The Justice Department is also restoring a program it says was dismantled by the Trump administration that will “compensate victims and remedy violations of federal environmental laws,” according to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.
The justice department says it will prioritize cases that have the greatest impact on the most vulnerable communities.