The EPA Office of Civil Rights will begin publishing an annual report on progress toward improving its performance, according to a blog post.
In the post, published Monday, EPA Acting Deputy Administrator Stan Meiburg acknowledged that the EPA’s civil rights compliance program has “faced challenges in the past,” but that it is “committed to systematically changing the way it approaches complaints.”
The Center for Public Integrity recently published “Environmental Justice, Denied,” a seven-part series examining the EPA’s civil rights record and the agency’s failure to issue a single formal discrimination finding in the history of the office. The office has rejected 95 percent of the hundreds of complaints it has received.
The EPA’s Office of Civil Rights is charged with investigating complaints of discrimination filed against state and local agencies that receive EPA funds and, upon unearthing evidence of injustice, making things right.
The last story, published Thursday, focused on suggestions for improving the beleaguered office.
In the blog, Meiburg detailed a series of measures hoped to improve operations, including increasing engagement and partnerships with recipients of EPA funding so it can “address potential discrimination before it becomes a real challenge for communities.”
It will also work with communities to ensure they understand their rights and how to file a discrimination complaint.
“By working with communities from the beginning, we can help make sure their concerns are directed to where they can best be resolved, and to strengthen transparency and accountability,” Meiburg wrote.
Beginning in 2016, Meiburg said, the office will “publish an annual report to keep the public apprised of the office’s progress” on those efforts.
The EPA did not respond immediately to requests for comment or more details on the report.