EPA administrator Michael Regan announced the creation of an Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights on Saturday to administer $3 billion in environmental justice funding and, activists hope, embed environmental justice into the agency’s organizational framework. “It will now become a part of the institutional fabric of EPA,” longtime EJ advocate Vernice Miller-Travis told the Washington Post.

“It’s going to take a hell of a lot to try to unravel that going forward.” Mustafa Santiago Ali, who helped craft EPA’s environmental justice efforts in the 1990s, described the institutional changes as “transformational” and the office “helps to make sure that environmental justice will always be dealt with on a high level.” The new office expands the EPA’s current 55-person EJ team into a team of 200, spread across all 10 EPA region offices and putting it on par with air and water pollution teams. “As a person who attended segregated schools,” said Dollie Burwell, whose 1982 protests in Warren County, NC, made her the mother of the Environmental Justice movement, “I expect incremental achievements.” (Washington Post, AP, New York Times $, CNN, Politico Pro $)