On September 10, the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and U.S. EPA signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) establishing a framework for joint environmental justice activities to include enforcement, inspections, outreach, and training. This is the first agreement of its nature for state and EPA regulators to work together to reduce pollution in disadvantaged communities.
The MOU states that CalEPA and EPA will “strive to improve transparency and communication among federal, state, and local agencies to be more accountable and responsive to compliance concerns in overburdened communities. We intend to use data to identify overburdened communities and the environmental and climate harms that affect them, and to prioritize our enforcement and compliance work accordingly.” The priorities also include increasing joint inspections in communities overburdened by pollution, collaborating on staff training, and working together on an annual work plan and reporting to detail progress under the agreement.
This agreement is part of a national effort to increase enforcement in overburdened communities. EPA has shared the MOU with other regions as a best practice.