By the Department of Justice (DOJ)
Martin Estrada, the United States Attorney for the Central District of California, announced today the creation of an Environmental Justice Coordinator and the prioritization of Environmental Justice Enforcement under his leadership as top federal prosecutor in the nation’s most populous federal judicial district.
Assistant United States Attorney Amanda M. Bettinelli has been selected to serve as the office’s Environmental Justice Coordinator. In this role, she will focus on protecting the rights of district residents who are disproportionately burdened by environmental and health hazards, including those affected by illegal dumping, soil contamination and child lead exposure.
The Central District of California is comprised of approximately 20 million residents in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo.
The Office is creating this position in recognition of President Joseph Biden’s directive in Executive Order 14008, which mandates that “[a]gencies shall make achieving environmental justice part of their missions by developing programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionately high and adverse human health, environmental, climate-related and other cumulative impacts on disadvantaged communities, as well as the accompanying economic challenges of such impacts.”
“Protecting the environment is critical to the work of this Office and our Environmental Justice Coordinator will support our longstanding commitment to protecting the communities that we serve by investigating and prosecuting environmental violations,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “Pollution and other environmental threats all too often disproportionately impact people of color and underserved communities. We will continue to vigorously enforce federal environmental laws and hold polluters accountable.”
The Office maintains a dedicated Environmental Crimes and Community Safety Section and the Environmental Justice Coordinator will play a critical role in the Office’s longstanding commitment to fighting environmental crimes and pollution. The Office will continue to partner and coordinate with the Environmental Protection Agency, law enforcement partners, local communities, and agencies across federal, state, and local governments to better serve the needs of disadvantaged communities and the mission of environmental justice throughout the Central District of California.