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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Environmental Justice

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Helping Communities

Office of Environmental Justice National Hotline
(800) 962-6215
Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

In 1994, the President’s Executive Order 12898 required EPA to address environmental justice in low-income and minority communities. Under this mandate, EPA has worked toward a fundamental goal—that all communities and people enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and equal access to the decision-making process that secures a healthy environment in which to live and work.

EPA’s Pacific Southwest Regional Office has not only focused a great deal of work in specific low-income minority communities, but also has considered environmental justice as a guiding principle in all agency actions. EPA is committed to working on the biggest environmental challenges facing the most vulnerable communities bearing disproportionate impacts from pollution and toxics.

epa cooperative ag agreement
Pacoima Beautiful project

In southern California, specific areas that face unique challenges include the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the U.S.-Mexico border, and tribal lands. EPA works with local communities and helps address their environmental challenges by funding and creating collaborative projects, ensuring industry compliance, providing technical assistance, and ensuring meaningful community involvement.

In Los Angeles County, fully 90% of EPA’s enforcement actions last year were in low-income and minority communities. EPA has made an effort to target these areas in part as a result of environmental justice concerns. Pacoima is one such community where high-impact local operations such as metal platers have been targeted for inspection and successful enforcement.

Pacoima, in the northeast section of California’s San Fernando Valley, is a Los Angeles community with a mostly Latino and African American population. Residents are affected by pollution from freeways, a railroad line, an airport and more than 300 industrial facilities. Pacoima added 243 homes to its newly created Lead-Free Homes registry and enlisted 205 residents to identify and reduce local toxics with the support of an Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem Solving grant from EPA. The grant recipient, the nonprofit Pacoima Beautiful, partnered with and received aid from the Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services to conduct lead remediation at 18 homes.

Pacoima Beautiful also convened more than 320 community residents, partners and stakeholders to review data and information on toxic sources in the community with an EPA Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) grant. As a result, the community secured a second CARE grant for $300,000 in 2007 to address two of the identified community priorities: small pollution sources in a targeted area of Pacoima, and diesel emissions from trucks and school buses throughout the community.

Additional information on Pacoima Beautiful

Additional Resources:

Contact: Karen Henry (henry.karen@epa.gov)

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