Frequent Questions

Will EPA regional offices screen every permit application to determine whether potential overburdened communities may be impacted by permitted activities?

The prioritization process laid out in EPA Actions directs EPA regional offices to prioritize permits. Regional offices will consider prioritizing all EPA-issued permits that have (1) significant environmental impacts; and (2) impacts on overburdened communities. The order in which the prioritization criteria are examined may vary from region to region. EPA Actions does not expect a regional office to assess whether there are overburdened communities prior to assessing whether a permit has significant environmental impacts, or the reverse, because the assessment of each prioritization criteria is independent of the other. Thus, a regional office could make a determination that a permit does not have significant environmental impacts and decline to perform an environmental justice screening to analyze whether a potentially overburdened community will be impacted by the permit because the permit has not triggered the criteria for prioritization for enhanced outreach. Alternatively, a regional office may choose to examine whether a permit impacts a potentially overburdened community prior to assessing the significance of the environmental impacts. In that case, all permit applications in the Region would undergo an environmental justice screening.

Have more questions? Submit a request