NPPC Voices Concerns on Environmental Justice Proposals

What happened: As the federal government continues to expand its focus on environmental justice, NPPC has worked to organize and increase engagement with a diverse and growing coalition of other industry groups impacted by the emergence of new federal regulatory mandates and guidelines. NPPC has worked to ensure business stakeholders have a united voice as the Biden Administration seeks to extensively grow the integration of environmental justice throughout all of government.

This week, the coalition submitted comments that expressed concerns to the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) over its “Federal Environmental Justice Science, Data, and Research Plan.” In addition, the groups also provided feedback to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights on its draft guidance for “Achieving Health and Environmental Protection Through EPA’s Meaningful Involvement Policy.”

NPPC’s take: It is important that the government take into consideration the views and voices of all impacted stakeholders, including pork producers and other industry sectors that will be required to navigate future legal and regulatory decisions for years to come as they are shaped by the Administrations environmental justice priorities and commitments. The coalition recommended the following actions to OSTP to improve its proposed science, data, and research plan, including:

  • Improve integration of industry contributions;
  • Take a more proactive role in fostering transparent information sharing between industries and communities;
  • Promote data quality, integrity, and accessibility;
  • Offer flexibility and interoperability to include local data;
  • Address data gaps and strengthen data infrastructure;
  • Protect confidential business information; and
  • Ensure balanced consideration of all data, including potential unintended consequences

The coalition also recommended the following improvements to EPA’s draft meaningful engagement guidance:

  • EPA needs to actively engage trade associations who represent important sectors of the economy in its process and consider them valuable partners;
  • EPA should provide adequate time for public comment on proposed rules or guidance documents;
  • EPA should ensure the public understands differences in data quality; and
  • Efforts to streamline EPA’s information sharing are welcome but need additional modification.

Why it matters: Federal agencies may take different approaches to establishing definitions, processes, data collection, community engagement, and funding. NPPC and other members of the business community are committed to championing responsible development that provides economic opportunities while fostering environmental stewardship and innovation.