23 GOP attorneys general target EPA civil rights enforcement

By Sean Reilly | 04/17/2024 04:17 PM EDT

The petition says the Biden administration’s approach to Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act pushes states “to engage in racial engineering.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody speaks.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, shown speaking Nov. 7, 2022, in Hialeah, Florida, led almost a half dozen other states in a petition over EPA's civil rights complaints. Lynne Sladky/AP

Almost two dozen Republican state attorneys general are calling on EPA to change its approach to handling civil rights complaints, three months after a federal judge barred the agency from addressing “disparate impacts” in weighing whether Louisiana’s air permitting program was discriminatory.

Under President Joe Biden’s administration, EPA “has taken unprecedented steps” to use its regulations under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act “to advance what it calls ‘environmental justice,'” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and 22 colleagues said in a petition dated Tuesday.

In practice, they wrote, that approach means asking states “to engage in racial engineering in deciding whether to, for example, issue environmental permits, rather than relying on the effect on the environment and other appropriate factors.”


Title VI bars states and other recipients of federal funding from discrimination on the basis of race or color. Among other changes to the regulations, they ask EPA Administrator Michael Regan to drop an entire section that says a recipient shall not use “criteria or methods of administering its program or activity which have the effect of subjecting individuals to discrimination.”