AGA is a member of the NAM Business Network for Environmental Justice and joined in the comments BNEJ filed on August 27, 2012 regarding EPA’s June 26, 2012 draft documents entitled (1) “Proposed Regional Actions to Promote Public Participation
in the Permitting Process” and (2) “Draft Best Practices for Permit Applicants Seeking EPA-Issued Permits,” hereinafter collectively referred to simply as “the Draft Guidance.”
The BNEJ believes that all people should be treated fairly under the laws, including environmental laws, without discrimination based on race, color or national origin. The BNEJ comments commend the EPA’s accurate and thoughtful description of the important role that industrial facilities play in America’s communities, while expressing the following concerns regarding the legal role and appropriate use of the Draft Guidance.
Specifically, the Draft Guidance should:
1. Acknowledge and address the framework of existing the EPA regulations and guidance documents that in many cases already address the same issues.
2. Prioritize the activities it seeks to encourage. (For example, the EPA should differentiate between new and existing facilities, between major and minor changes to facility operations, and between communities that have serious environmental justice issues and communities that do not.)
3. Clearly state that its purpose is to provide suggestions, rather than to establish a new “procedural checklist,” and that any deviations from the Draft Guidance cannot be used to delay, oppose, or challenge a particular permit.
4. Avoid using the term “Best Practices,” because each facility and community present unique facts, making the choice of practices in each case highly site-specific.
Comments of the Business Network for Environmental Justice