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Justice Department appoints first director of Office of Environmental Justice

Several hundred students and environmental activists take part in a worldwide school walkout in 2019, calling for more aggressive action on fighting climate change. The Justice Department announced Wednesday that Cynthia Ferguson would lead its newly created Office of Environmental Justice. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/26f79e076e5e46cb104806a1c2671b78/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Several hundred students and environmental activists take part in a worldwide school walkout in 2019, calling for more aggressive action on fighting climate change. The Justice Department announced Wednesday that Cynthia Ferguson would lead its newly created Office of Environmental Justice. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The Justice Department announced Wednesday the appointment of Cynthia Ferguson as the first Director of Office of Environmental Justice.

As head of the newly created office, she will lead efforts to engage all Justice Department Bureaus, components and offices in the collective pursuit of environmental justice.

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"Communities of color, indigenous communities and low-income communities often bear the brunt of the harm caused by environmental crime, pollution and climate change," Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement.

"Cynthia Ferguson has demonstrated the exact kind of dedication and vision that we need to address these longstanding inequities and I look forward to her leadership of this new office."

Ferguson, who received her law degree from the Chicago‐Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, began her career in 2000 in the Environmental Enforcement Section. She has served as the acting director of the Office of Environmental Justice since May.

"Cynthia Ferguson's more than two decades of service to the Environment and Natural Resources Division and the cause of justice make her especially prepared to take on this role," said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division.

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"Cynthia will play a critical role in the department's efforts to hear and to address the concerns of American communities who have borne a disproportionate burden from pollution for far too long."

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