Recent Public Comments
NBLSA has written the following Public Comment to advocate for minority serving communities in the EPA draft guidance
Written by Jasmine Wade, 2011-2012 Judicial Advocacy Specialist
Edited by Abre' Conner, 2011-2012 National Attorney General
I would like to comment on the Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps). The Environmental Protection Agency has broad discretion through the Clean Water Act to act on behalf of environmental justice issues demonstrated through section 7403, requiring the EPA to "conduct and promote the coordination and acceleration relating to the causes, effect, prevent and elimination of water pollution." Both low-income and minority communities are the most at risk to environmental justice issues. Two major factors in protecting these vulnerable populations is to ensure that members of the community are aware of the protections provided and that the proper scientific research is conducted to see whether these communities are adversely affected. Within the notice, it is encouraged that comments are posted about whether any communities are adversely affected by the proposed guidance, however it is unclear how those who may be the most affected are aware of how this guidance proposal affects their community. The concern is what type of research the EPA has completed to ensure this guideline proposal does not adversely affect low-income and minority communities. This has become increasingly important because of the lack of a private right of action for many individuals with environmental justice issues creating reliance on agencies to enforce these policies. Additionally, how are the findings from this research communicated to the low income and minority populations to encourage their participation in the notice and comment approach to community involvement.