Tennessee AG Joins 23-State Coalition Against EPA’s Racial Practices

Tennessee Attorney General demands EPA modify regulations to end race-conscious environmental justice initiatives.

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti joined a 23-state coalition on Tuesday, demanding the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) modify existing regulations in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The coalition argues that these regulations consider “disparate impacts” to forward race-conscious “environmental justice” initiatives.

In a statement, Attorney General Skrmetti said, “Federal agencies continue to pursue rules that treat people differently based solely on the color of their skin, in violation of the Constitution and our American ideal of equality. This insistence on illegal racial decision-making wastes time and tax dollars and distracts the EPA from its core mission of lawfully enforcing our nation’s environmental laws.”

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevents the government from excluding any person in the United States from any program receiving federal funding on the grounds of race, color, or national origin. However, since 2021, the EPA has taken steps to advance “environmental justice,” which includes racial factors in making policy determinations. As a result, states are forced to consider racial and demographic characteristics when deciding to issue environmental permits or funding, which the coalition argues is in direct violation of Title VI.

The coalition also argued that these regulations run afoul of the EPA’s statutory authority and must be changed to align with the Equal Protection Clause. The petition was led by Florida and joined by Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The full petition can be read here.

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