EPA Issues Interim Environmental Justice (EJ) and Civil Rights Permitting FAQ

On August 16, the EPA released its frequently asked questions (“FAQ”) document advising state regulators to deny permits if applicants do not demonstrate compliance with the civil rights of affected persons and communities in addition to compliance with the environmental requirements of the permit. The document also includes details on how permit writers should measure and consider cumulative and desperate impacts to minority and disadvantaged communities. Multiple state authorities including those responsible for writing permits under Clear Air and Clean Water Act provisions have questioned the EPA’s authority to require them to consider factors beyond environmental compliance in permitting decisions. The FAQ is still in “interim” form, and open to public comment. Comments are not being released by the EPA at this time; however, the EPA has indicated that, to date, it has not received any comments from any state environmental agency.  For more information, please contact one of the attorneys in the environmental practice group.

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