Universal Mentors Association

EPA creates youth council to advise the agency on climate change policy | Engadget


If younger generations are more likely to feel the effects of climate change, shouldn’t they have a say in related government policies? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) thinks so. It’s officially forming its “first-ever” National Environmental Youth Advisory Council. The agency is inviting 16 people aged 18 to 29 to have them influence the agency’s approach to environmental issues that affect youth communities.

In keeping with the EPA’s increasing focus on environmental justice, at least half of the council’s overall membership will come from, live in or do most of its work in “disadvantaged” communities where clean air, land and water aren’t guaranteed. Youth interested in the panel will have until August 22nd at 11:59PM Eastern to apply, with webinars for would-be applicants on June 30th and August 7th.

Agency head Michael Regan argues that it’s not practical to address environmental issues without the help of younger people who are often at the “forefront of social movements.” The council makes sure that youth play a role in decisions, the administrator adds.

Plans for the council were originally unveiled in June 2022, and come several months after the EPA created an Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights. That new division is meant to include “underserved communities” in the regulatory process, Vice President Kamala Harris said at the time. In that light, the youth council is an extension of last year’s strategy.

The Biden’s administration has made the environment a key element of its policy. The wide-ranging Inflation Reduction Act includes $3 billion in environmental justice grants as well as revised (if sometimes stricter) EV tax credits. The youth council won’t necessarily lead to major changes in policy, but it makes sense when young adults are more likely to deal with the most severe effects of rising global temperatures than the official rule makers.


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