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EPA Establishes Youth Council to Advise on Climate Change Policy

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climate change policy

Recognizing the heightened vulnerability of younger generations to the impacts of climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has taken a proactive step. Introducing their inaugural National Environmental Youth Advisory Council, the EPA aims to involve 16 individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 in shaping the agency’s approach to environmental concerns affecting youth communities.

Aligning with the EPA’s growing commitment to environmental justice, the council’s membership will prioritize inclusion of individuals who reside in or predominantly work within “disadvantaged” communities where access to clean air, land, and water remains uncertain. Aspiring youth candidates can submit their applications until August 22nd, 11:59 PM Eastern Time, with informative webinars scheduled for June 30th and August 7th to guide potential applicants.

Michael Regan, the head of the agency, emphasizes that it is imperative to involve younger individuals who often spearhead social movements when addressing environmental challenges. By establishing the council, the EPA ensures that the voice of youth is heard in the decision-making process, Regan adds.

The concept for this council was initially introduced in June 2022 and follows the establishment of the Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights within the EPA. The creation of this new division, as stated by Vice President Kamala Harris, aims to incorporate “underserved communities” into the regulatory framework. In this context, the youth council represents a natural extension of the strategies implemented last year.

Under the Biden administration, environmental concerns have been given significant priority. The comprehensive Inflation Reduction Act includes $3 billion in grants for environmental justice initiatives and introduces revised electric vehicle (EV) tax credits, which are occasionally stricter. While the youth council may not directly result in major policy changes, it reflects the significance of involving young adults, who are more likely to confront the severe consequences of rising global temperatures compared to the official policymakers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about climate change policy

What is the purpose of the National Environmental Youth Advisory Council?

The purpose of the National Environmental Youth Advisory Council is to involve young individuals in shaping the Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to environmental issues that impact youth communities and to promote environmental justice.

Who can apply to join the council?

Individuals aged 18 to 29 are eligible to apply to join the National Environmental Youth Advisory Council.

How does the council prioritize environmental justice?

At least half of the council’s overall membership will come from or do most of their work in “disadvantaged” communities where access to clean air, land, and water is not guaranteed. This ensures that the voices of those living in vulnerable communities are represented in the council.

How long is the application period?

Youth interested in joining the council have until August 22nd at 11:59 PM Eastern Time to submit their applications.

Will the council lead to significant policy changes?

While the youth council won’t necessarily result in major policy changes, it plays a crucial role in incorporating the perspectives of young adults who are more likely to face the severe effects of climate change. Their input helps shape the decision-making process regarding environmental policies.

What other initiatives support environmental justice under the Biden administration?

The Biden administration has introduced the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $3 billion in environmental justice grants. Additionally, revised electric vehicle (EV) tax credits have been implemented to address environmental concerns.

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