U.S. panel eyes environmental burdens

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Minority and low-income communities are bearing a disproportionate burden on environmental issues, senior White House and legislative officials said.

Five Cabinet secretaries met with senior officials in Washington for a forum on environmental justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.


The meeting showcased U.S. President Barack Obama's commitment to making sure all U.S. citizens have federal protection from environmental and health hazards, the EPA said.

Nancy Sutley, the chairwoman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said more could be done to help struggling communities.

"Low-income and minority communities often shoulder an unacceptable amount of pollution in this country, diminishing their economic potential and threatening the health of millions of American families," she said in her statement.

Discussions focused on Washington's commitment to ensuring the fair and equal benefits of a clean environment.

"This administration has taken unprecedented steps to ensure that environmental protection reaches every community," said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in a statement. "We want to put an end to the days when public health and economic potential are harmed by disproportionate exposure to pollution."

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