Environmental justice to play bigger role in US policy making

Vulnerable communities that have been poorly represented in the past - and subsequently used as dumping grounds for hazardous waste - are to get a greater say in future environmental policy making in the USA.

This week head of the EPA, administrator Lisa P Jackson, flagged up environmental justice as one of her key priorities for the agency.

To show she would be practicing what she preaches, the administrator stressed that she would like to see more input from historically under-represented people in public consultation on the EPA’s new plans for hazardous waste recycling.

The EPA is particularly keen to avoid criticism that any new rules weigh the scales of justice in the favour of affluent communities.

A statement from the EPA says: “To encourage safe recycling and to help conserve natural resources, EPA’s Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule published in October of 2008, modified the regulations for hazardous materials that are recycled, also known as hazardous secondary materials.

“EPA is reaching out to stakeholders, including the environmental justice community, requesting public comment before the analysis begins.

“Lessons learned from the analysis of the DSW rule will also be used to inform EPA’s ongoing effort to strengthen the consideration of environmental justice in rule makings.”

Details and background to the consultation can be found on the EPA’s website here.

Sam Bond

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