Environmental Justice: Measurable Benchmarks Needed to Gauge EPA Progress in Correcting Past Problems Page: 4 of 17
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public comment) and their finalization (including how public comments
are addressed and how the economic review is revised). The three rules
we examined included a 2000 gasoline rule to reduce sulfur in gasoline and
to reduce emissions from new vehicles; a 2001 diesel rule to reduce sulfur
in diesel fuel and to reduce emissions from new heavy-duty engines; and a
2004 ozone implementation rule to implement a new ozone standard. My
testimony today (1) summarizes the key findings of our 2005 report, (2)
provides both the recommendations we made to EPA to address the
problems identified and EPA's written response to these recommendations
in August 2006, and (3) provides updated information on pertinent EPA
When drafting the three clean air rules, EPA generally devoted little
attention to environmental justice. Our 2005 report concluded, for
example, that while EPA guidance on rulemaking states that workgroups
should consider environmental justice in the rule-making process, a lack
of guidance and training for workgroup members on identifying
environmental justice issues limited their ability to identify such issues. In
addition, while EPA officials stated that economic reviews of proposed
rules considered potential environmental justice impacts, the gasoline and
diesel rules did not provide decision makers with environmental justice
analyses, and EPA did not identify all the types of data necessary to
analyze such impacts. In finalizing the three rules, EPA considered
environmental justice to varying degrees although, in general, the agency
rarely provided a clear rationale for its decisions on environmental justice-
related matters. In responding to comments during the final phase of the
gasoline rule, for example, EPA asserted that the rule would not raise
environmental justice concerns, but did not publish data and assumptions
to support that conclusion.
Our report made four recommendations to help EPA ensure that
environmental justice issues are adequately identified and considered
when clean air rules are being drafted and finalized. The following
includes each recommendation and summarizes the response provided in
EPA's August 24, 2006, letter to the Comptroller General and cognizant
committees of the Congress:
Ensure that the agency's rulemaking workgroups devote attention to
environmental justice while drafting and finalizing clean air rules.
Among the actions highlighted by EPA were that the Office of
Environmental Justice was made an ex officio member of the Regulatory
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Environmental Justice: Measurable Benchmarks Needed to Gauge EPA Progress in Correcting Past Problems, text, July 25, 2007; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293629/m1/4/: accessed January 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.