The Department of Education today announced the release of its draft Environmental Justice (EJ) strategy. The Department’s draft EJ strategy focuses on healthy learning environments for students, energy-efficient school facilities, sustainability education and environmental literacy, and energy efficiency in the Department’s facilities. This draft EJ strategy is the Department’s plan to address environmental justice concerns and increase access to environmental benefits through the Department’s policies, programs, and activities.
The Department is committed to meeting the goals of Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations,” which states that each participating federal agency should make environmental justice part of its mission. Specifically, this release is the latest step in a larger Administration-wide effort to ensure strong protection from environmental and health hazards for all Americans. In August, federal agencies signed the “Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898” (EJ MOU), which committed each agency to, among other things, finalizing an EJ strategy and releasing annual implementation reports. Links to the other federal EJ Strategies can be found on the Environmental Justice Interagency Workgroup webpage at http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/interagency/iwg-compendium.html.
The draft strategy will be open for public comment for 45 days, or until March 26, 2012. Comments can be submitted by emailing EDEnvironmentalJustice@ed.gov. The Department will then review those comments and finalize the strategy. After the strategy is final, the Department and its federal partners will continue to engage stakeholders through outreach and events and will respond to public comments through annual implementation reports.