Thursday, August 4, 2005

EPA EnJustice?

GAO issued a report on EPA's consideration of environmental justice during three key Clean Air Act rulemakings.  GAOs bottom line is that environmental justice concerns don't count for much.  GAO Report

GAOs highlights of the report: When drafting the three clean air rules, EPA generally devoted little attention to environmental justice. While EPA guidance on rulemaking states that workgroups should consider environmental justice early in this process, GAO found that a lack of guidance and training for workgroup members on identifying environmental justice issues may have limited their
ability to identify such issues. In addition, while EPA officials stated that
economic reviews of proposed rules consider potential environmental
justice impacts, the gasoline and diesel rules did not provide decision
makers with environmental justice analyses, and EPA has not identified all
the types of data necessary to analyze such impacts. Finally, in all three
rules, EPA mentioned environmental justice when they were published in
proposed form, but the discussion in the ozone implementation rule was

In finalizing the three clean air rules, EPA considered environmental justice to varying degrees. Public commenters stated that all three rules, as proposed, raised environmental justice issues. In responding to such
comments on the gasoline rule, EPA published its belief that the rule would not create such issues, but did not publish the data and assumptions
supporting its belief. Specifically, EPA did not publish (1) its estimate that
potentially harmful air emissions would increase in 26 of the 86 counties
with refineries affected by the rule or (2) its assumption that this estimate
overstated the eventual increases in refinery emissions. For the diesel rule, in response to refiners’ concerns that their permits could be delayed if environmental justice issues were raised by citizens, EPA stated that the permits would not be delayed by such issues. Moreover, after reviewing the comments, EPA did not change its final economic reviews to discuss the gasoline and diesel rules’ potential environmental justice impacts. Finally, the portions of the ozone implementation rule that prompted the comments about environmental justice were not included in the final rule. Overall, EPA officials said that these rules, as published in final form, did not create an environmental justice issue.

Air Quality, Governance/Management, US | Permalink

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