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New Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights to prioritize underserved communities

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Lester Graham
/
Michigan Radio
Detroit skyline

The EPA announced this month that the new Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights will aim to address long standing environmental health concerns throughout the United States. The new office combines the Office of Environmental Justice, the External Civil Rights Compliance Office and the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center, into one high-level program.

The EPA says this new office merges these programs to create a more comprehensive office that is able to work with larger government entities.

With the new, larger program, Marianne Engelman-Lado with the EPA's Office of General Counsel, said that there will be better coordination between offices regarding environmental justice issues in communities in need.

The office will focus on the cumulative impact of issues such as pollution and water contamination in communities.

Engelman-Lado said longstanding environmental issues in Michigan will be among the priorities of the new office.

She said the new office will "lift up the work with communities. Lift up the importance of prioritizing environmental justice and addressing the concerns in the places where they're greatest.”

She said the office's first task will be distributing funds authorized by Congress through the Inflation Reduction Act.

Taylor Bowie is a senior studying English Literature at the University of Michigan and an intern in the Michigan Radio newsroom. She is originally from Owosso, Michigan.
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