On January 26, EPA issued a news release relating to environmental justice, indicating EPA was implementing a series of broad policy actions to address environmental justice concerns and taking specific steps for several local communities recently visited by Administrator Reagan.
Inspections, Air Monitoring, and Ethylene Oxide
The broad policy initiatives will include aggressive use of unannounced inspections of suspected noncompliant facilities, increased monitoring of facilities that may affect “overburdened communities,” and expansion of air monitoring capabilities, including use of “the ASPECT airplane, GMAP mobile air monitoring vehicle, and additional air pollution inspectors.” The news release mentioned that EPA had previously announced the availability of $20 million in grants to enhance local air monitoring.
The news release also announced that Administrator Reagan signed a notice concluding that ethylene oxide (EtO) “is significantly more toxic than previously understood.” That notice is subject to a 30-day comment period. In a related action, EPA announced it has proposed “to formally reject the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s less protective risk value for EtO.”
Local Monitoring and Communication
EPA is taking other actions to address local concerns, according to the news release, such as expanding local air monitoring capabilities in Louisiana and Texas. EPA also announced its plan to form a “a partnership with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (T.E.J.A.S) under the Beyond Translation (BT) Plus program to improve communication, especially when it comes to information on environmental risk and enforcement. Under the partnership, EPA will develop local strategies to address air toxics in communities, provide better transparency regarding enforcement, and improve access to risk management plans.”