Jan 27, 2022 - Energy & Environment

EPA pledges to help poor communities impacted by pollution

Picture of Michael Regan

EPA Administrator Michael Regan. Photo: Samuel Corum via Getty Images

The EPA is vowing to take new steps to help communities disproportionately burdened by pollution, after Administrator Michael Regan's tour of areas in Louisiana, Mississippi and elsewhere.

State of play: The steps include expanding air monitoring and "aggressively" using unannounced inspections of polluting facilities suspected of noncompliance with standards, the EPA said.

  • The EPA will also install air pollution monitors in Louisiana, specifically between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, where cancer risks are higher than in the rest of the U.S., to detect emissions in real time, AP reports.
  • The agency also sent a letter to the city of Jackson, Mississippi, ordering city officials to "correct the significant deficiencies identified" in its drinking water system, AP notes.

What they're saying: "Seeing the situation for myself, talking directly to community members, it is startling where we get to this point — the point where children miss school days because the water isn’t safe," Regan said, per The New York Times.

  • He added that the environmental conditions he had witnessed in different parts of the country were "unacceptable in the United States of America."
  • Regan in November 2021 visited mainly lower-income communities in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas to witness environmental conditions in places affected by industrial pollution, according to AP.
  • "In every community I visited during the 'Journey to Justice' tour, the message was clear: residents have suffered far too long and local, state and federal agencies have to do better," the EPA administration said, per AP.
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