U.S. EPA not conducting environmental-justice reviews

In a sharp break with the rest of the Bush administration’s focus — no, obsession — with social and economic justice, the U.S. EPA has failed to conduct environmental-justice reviews to make sure low-income and minority neighborhoods get equal eco-protection to other communities. The reviews have been required since 1994, but a survey by the EPA inspector general’s office finds that 60 percent of EPA regional offices and program departments have never conducted one, while 87 percent said they haven’t even been asked to do so. And since no reviews have been done, “the agency cannot determine whether its programs cause disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority and low-income populations,” says the IG report. The report was released by the office of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who said: “[T]his administration couldn’t care less” about minority and low-income neighborhoods.