Lisa Jackson, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, has made good on her August 25th announcement to create the new position of Associate Assistant Administrator for Outreach, Diversity and Collaboration – to “spearhead and coordinate diversity initiatives across the entire agency,” she said. This week the EPA welcomed Raul Soto into the job.
According to an internal EPA memo, Soto will be a “principal adviser on all matters related to optimizing support, coordination and alignment of EPA’s efforts to assure diversity and minority representation and input in major Agency programs.” Additionally, he “will lead a team which will promote greater synergy among the programs, functions, initiatives and mandates of the Office of Civil Rights, the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, and the Office of Environmental Justice.”
In her speech last August, Jackson said she sought to build bridges between communities that may feel disenfranchised with the environmental movement and its leaders.
“For too long, environmentalism has been seen as an enclave for the well-off,” she said. “Talking about the issue brings to mind sweeping vistas and wide-open landscapes. What doesn’t usually come to mind is an apartment building. A city block. Or a school playground. Or, for that matter, an inner-city kid who has trouble breathing on hot days. Or a black business owner whose employees are getting sick. But we know that environmental issues are as much a part of their lives as they are for anyone.”
Read Administrator Jackson’s full speech here.