Environmental justice in enforcement and compliance


On March 8, 2022, the U.S. EPA Region 8 and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Advancing Environmental Justice through Enforcement and Compliance Assurance in Disproportionately Impacted Communities. The agreement commits to collaborating on enforcement and compliance to reduce pollution in communities overburdened by environmental and public health impacts. The agreement sets a strategic direction and formalizes a state and federal agency partnership. Under this agreement, we focus on three areas: (1) strategic targeting of inspections, (2) coordinated enforcement and compliance assurance actions to address impacts on communities, and (3) enhanced community engagement.

After signing the agreement, in May 2022 the EPA and CDPHE held initial community engagement sessions targeting Pueblo and the Commerce City-North Denver areas to seek feedback on the development of this workplan. Community members shared concerns about environmental issues impacting their communities, and ideas for improving access to information and engagement with the agencies. The EPA and CDPHE incorporated community suggestions into a draft workplan and identified ways to improve how the EPA and CDPHE work with each other and with communities to identify and address environmental problems.

On September 23, 2022, the EPA and CDPHE released a draft workplan in both English and Spanish for public comment. The agencies also released a bilingual survey to seek feedback on the draft workplan. The public comment period lasted 60 days and ended on November 22, 2022. The agencies received eight public comments and 68 survey responses. The agencies carefully reviewed each comment and incorporated feedback into the final workplan. Detailed responses to each public comment are available.

The EPA and CDPHE will implement this workplan for the duration of the federal fiscal year 2023 (October 1, 2022, through September 30, 2023). The agencies will monitor progress, release an annual report on accomplishments in implementing this FY23 workplan, and update the workplan for use in future federal fiscal years.

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Public Meeting on Environmental Justice in Enforcement & Compliance

On May 1, 2023, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted a virtual public meeting about how they will implement their agreement to prioritize environmental justice in enforcement and compliance.

CDPHE and EPA have finalized a workplan for implementing their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) about advancing environmental justice in enforcement and compliance. You can read the final workplan here. You can read the MOU here.

During the meeting, CDPHE and EPA talked more about the final workplan and what it means for communities across Colorado. Marcus Howell, the CDPHE Environmental Justice Ombudsperson, also presented his newly launched complaint system, found here.

Watch the recording from the meeting.

Air Pollution Contacts
Drinking Water Compliance Assurance Section
Clean Water Contacts:
EPA Region 8 Contacts for Enforcement and Compliance
Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Contacts: