On Oct. 1, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published its draft Fiscal Year 2022-2026 Strategic Plan. EPA’s Strategic Plan lays out seven overarching goals with corresponding Objectives to achieve each goal. Under the first goal, entitled “Tackle the Climate Crisis,” EPA emphasizes its Objective to “Accelerate Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts. Two of EPA’s important strategies to attain this objective are to “integrate climate adaptation into EPA programs, policies, rulemaking processes, and enforcement activities” and to “partner with Tribes, states … local governments [and] environmental justice organizations.”

The EPA’s emphasis on climate change adaptation and resilience will likely increase the time and cost of permitting facilities, implementing remediation plans, and constructing infrastructure to accommodate anticipated climate change impacts. The twin strategies set forth in the Strategic Plan of partnering with states and environmental justice organizations and integrating climate adaptation into EPA rulemaking and enforcement activities will also focus state and federal agency inspections, investigations, clean-up activities and enforcement on facilities near environmental justice communities and in those areas projected to be most impacted by climate change.