News Releases from Region 9
Obama Appointee Jared Blumenfeld Upholds, Renews EPA’s Commitment to Underserved Communities in the Pacific Southwest
Release Date: 01/27/2010
Contact Information: http://www.epa.gov/region09/contact_press.html
SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recently appointed regional administrator, Jared Blumenfeld, held a roundtable discussion Tuesday to unveil his plans to revolutionize the Agency's environmental efforts in the Pacific Southwest.
Blumenfeld discussed significant environmental challenges and opportunities ahead and his priorities as he works to address these critical issues.
“I will be a tireless advocate for equity,” stated Blumenfeld. “The quality of your environment cannot be dependent on the color of your skin, the size of your bank account, whether you were born on tribal lands or in a gated community, whether you live on a small island or in a big city. Environmental justice cannot be an afterthought -- it must be central to how we think and what we do so that we can offer meaningful assistance to communities that have been left behind.”
Promising to utilize all available legal, regulatory, and enforcement tools, and best available science, to help communities, Blumenfeld highlighted the Central California community of Kettleman City, which has suffered distressing incidents of birth defects and infant deaths. Blumenfeld confirmed EPA’s commitment to working with state, federal and local partners to assess all of the environmental stressors affecting this rural community.
“These families are looking for answers, and collectively as public agencies it is our responsibility to help come up with those answers,” said Blumenfeld. “We are engaging with those agencies and community members in order to understand and address public health and environmental issues in Kettleman City.”
Blumenfeld announced he will take progressive strides forward and place special emphasis on EPA’s environmental efforts in historically underserved and vulnerable communities. He also vigorously addressed the inequitable distribution of environmental benefits and burdens throughout the region. The presidential appointee promised to renew environmental efforts in the Pacific Southwest.
The director of the regional agency affirmed his commitment to serving urban, islands and underserved communities, especially tribes throughout the Pacific Southwest, and small businesses, what he called the backbone of the American economy.
Blumenfeld’s environmental agenda for the Pacific Southwest is echoed throughout the nation.
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has made promoting environmental justice and expanding the conversation on environmentalism one of the seven key priorities of her tenure at the Agency.
Since taking office, Jackson has appointed a Senior Advisor for Environmental Justice and a Senior Counsel for External Civil Rights in order to focus the agency’s efforts to address the health and environmental burdens faced by communities disproportionately impacted by pollution. Most recently, and consistent with this commitment, the agency announced that it would assess the impacts of its hazardous waste rule on disadvantaged communities. This action will also be used to inform EPA’s ongoing effort to strengthen the consideration of environmental justice in rulemakings.
EPA’s Environmental Justice Program: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/