Boston (Nov. 16, 2023) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan announced the appointment of 16 members to the agency’s first-ever National Environmental Youth Advisory Council (NEYAC), including a Massachusetts student from Hyde Park. The newly established federal advisory committee will provide independent policy advice and recommendations to Administrator Regan on how to increase the effectiveness of EPA’s efforts to address a range of environmental issues impacting youth. The council is the first ever at EPA to be exclusively occupied by young people, with all members between the ages of 16 and 29.
“Young people have been at the forefront of every movement for political and social change in American history, and the environmental movement is no different. Today we are cementing seats for young leaders at EPA’s table as we tackle the greatest environmental challenges of our time,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “President Biden is committed to ensuring everyone in this country has access to clean air, safe water and healthy land, now and for generations to come. With the support of the spectacular young leaders selected today, we will deliver on his clear vision for a brighter and healthier future.”
“Having young people lead the charge on climate and environmental justice, and providing them with a voice, is incredibly important to creating sustained change and connecting with the needs of our communities” said EPA New England Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “New England is excited to hear from, learn from and collaborate with our new youth advisory council. Congratulations to all the selectees, especially Osasenaga Idahor from New England! With his expertise in environmental health and his understanding of the importance of communicating about these issues, he will be an excellent contributor to attaining the Nation’s and the Region’s environmental and justice goals.”
Osasenaga Idahor grew up in Hyde Park, Boston, a neighborhood predominantly home to immigrant people of color, and witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of overlooked environmental health issues in his community. “I am honored to be selected to serve as one of the sixteen members of the first iteration of the NEYAC! I look forward to using this privileged platform to serve my community by representing the interests of science policy-communicators focused on the correlation between environmental health and impacts from climate change,” said the NEYAC member, Osasenaga Idahor. Idahor uses his platform of environmental health research to inform public policy, and writes, records, and publishes his podcast, ‘The Climate Doctor (No MD)’, specifically focused on the relevance of our climate to our daily health by diving into climate change, climate concepts, and environmental justice issues.
EPA issued a request for nominations to the council in the summer of 2023 and received over 1,000 applications. EPA selected new members from a pool of highly qualified candidates to represent a variety of interests, lived experiences, partisan affiliation, and geographic locations, and whose backgrounds include extensive experience with EPA priority issues including climate change, environmental justice, conservation, air quality, clean water, agriculture, food security, and workforce development. NEYAC members represent all 10 EPA regions, including urban, rural and Tribal communities, and hail from 13 states and the District of Columbia.
“Young people understand the urgency of addressing climate change, as they will be the generation most directly affected by its devastating consequences,” said U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT). “I am pleased that the EPA’s National Environmental Youth Advisory Council will give young people a voice to address this existential crisis. We must act aggressively to move away from fossil fuels and make sure the planet we leave for our kids and future generations is healthy and habitable.”
“While young people didn’t cause the climate crisis, they will be the most affected if we fail to act,” said U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). “Solutions to climate injustice must be crafted and led by the voices of the future, particularly young people who have seen that injustice in their communities. That’s why I am beyond proud to see a constituent from Hyde Park, Massachusetts be named a Council Member of EPA’s inaugural National Environmental Youth Advisory Council. I can’t wait to see the great things to come from these 16 young leaders.”
“The climate crisis is here and it’s time our leaders took a whole-of-government approach that brings young people to the table and ensures all voices are heard in the fight to save our planet,” said U.S. Representative Maxwell Frost (D-FL). “Under the leadership of President Biden, I’m thrilled to see the EPA bring young people into the fold in such a critical way. When clean air, clean water, and clean communities are on the line, we can’t and won’t give up in the fight against climate change.”
Administrator Regan will announce his appointments at a launch event in Washington, D.C., that will rally young leaders from across the country to celebrate their critical role in addressing the greatest environmental challenges of our time. Administrator Regan and the new members will be joined by talent including DJ Heat, Little Bacon Bear and elected officials including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and U.S. Representative Maxwell Frost, the youngest Member of Congress and first member from Generation Z to serve. Administrator Regan will also participate in a fireside chat with young leaders moderated by ESPN’s Sheila Matthews.
The NEYAC will meet at least twice a year, with the first meeting of the council to be scheduled next year. As they become available, additional details will post to EPA’s website.
About the NEYAC
The National Environmental Youth Advisory Council (NEYAC) provides advice and recommendations on environmental issues impacting young people directly to EPA Administrator Regan. The NEYAC includes 16 members, who are appointed for a two-year term. As part of the agency’s commitment to centering environmental justice communities, at least 50% of the overall membership of NEYAC will come from, reside primarily in, and/or do most of their work in disadvantaged communities as defined by the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) as part of Justice40.