Environmental Justice

The Environmental Justice, or EJ, subcommittee has a mission to “explore how SBEAPs/SBOs can address EJ concerns in their states through small business assistance.” The subcommittee meets virtually on the second Tuesday of each month at 2 p.m. ET. Interested in getting involved? Contact Lisa Ashenbrenner Hunt, subcommittee chair, for more information. 

The U.S. EPA defines environmental justice as: 
The just treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of income, race, color, national origin, Tribal affiliation, or disability, in agency decision-making and other Federal activities that affect human health and the environment so that people:

  • are fully protected from disproportionate and adverse human health and environmental effects (including risks) and hazards, including those related to climate change, the cumulative impacts of environmental and other burdens, and the legacy of racism or other structural or systemic barriers; and
  • have equitable access to a healthy, sustainable, and resilient environment in which to live, play, work, learn, grow, worship, and engage in cultural and subsistence practices

SBEAPs/SBOs provide on-the-ground assistance to small businesses, many of which may be located in communities with EJ concerns and may be owned by and employ members of those communities. It is essential that small businesses understand and comply with environmental regulations and reduce pollution, especially in overburdened communities. This subcommittee looks for ways that small business assistance providers can integrate a focus on EJ into their everyday work to reduce the environmental burden on disadvantaged communities and engage impacted populations in environmental conversations. 

Learn about environmental justice 

Environmental justice subcommittee meeting records 

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) involvement 

EPA is not currently accepting nominations for the council. They anticipate listing vacancies in fall 2023.

Environmental justice resources for SBEAPs/SBOs 

Community assessment tools

Environmental justice and compliance assurance


Other assistance providers

  • Community Navigators
    Provides funding from the American Rescue Plan to organizations to act as hubs for reducing barriers that small businesses face accessing government resources for economic recovery. These “hubs” connect with networks of more local “spoke” organizations to provide assistance to entrepreneurs, especially in underserved communities.
  • Environmental Finance Centers
    Provides funding to organizations to provide technical assistance to local and state governments, tribes and territories as well as NGOs to help historically underserved communities access federal funding for water infrastructure improvements projects.
  • Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Centers
    Provides support to empower underserved communities to address environmental justice concerns by building capacity in grant writing and management, navigating federal systems like grants.gov and sam.gov and guidance on community engagement.

Additional resources