Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kent Benjamin To Be Associate Director of EPA OEJ

Beginning in January 2009, EPA's Kent Benjamin will be moving permanently to the Office of Environmental Justice to serve as the Associate Director.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

EPA OEJ Director Requests All Federal Agencies To Support 2009 EJ Conference

December 3, 2008


To: Members, Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (IWG)

From: Charles Lee, Director /Signed
USEPA, Office of Environmental Justice

Subject: Federal Agency Support and Participation in the State of Environmental Justice in America 2009 Conference

The second annual State of Environmental Justice (EJ) in America Conference (Conference), held on May 21-24, 2008, at Howard University, was a resounding success. More than 300 people, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) senior management, participated in the Conference. I would like to recognize and thank the managers and staffs of the sponsoring agencies: Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, and our sister offices at the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Third Annual State of Environmental Justice in America Conference 2009 is fast approaching. The planning stages are underway for the Conference, which is scheduled for May 28-29, 2009, at the Doubletree Hotel in Crystal City, VA. EPA and DOE are planning to enter into co-sponsorship agreements with EJ Conference, Inc., a non-profit organization that represents non-federal stakeholders for the conference. EJ Conference, Inc. hosted the 2008 conference.

As you know, the IWG, and its Federal agency members, have been a major supporter of the Conference. The success of the two previous EJ in America Conferences can be attributed, in large part, to the support of Federal agencies. Financial support from the agencies helped pay for travel scholarships for community-based organization, the conference facilities, and contractor support.

With so much regional and national interest in EJ, we anticipate, and see a need for, additional Federal agency support for the 2009 Conference. We expect more community organizations to want to participate, in order to identify opportunities for collaboration with Federal agencies, particularly during the Federal agencies Listening Sessions planned for the Conference.

As a result, we ask that each department or agency consider an early commitment to support and participate in the 2009 Conference. This support may take the form of financial assistance to EJ Conference, Inc. If your agency has authority to provide funding to EJ Conference, Inc, and decides to do so, please contact John Rosenthall, President of EJ Conference, Inc. at (703) 624-2257 or email John Rosenthal.

If your agency has questions about other forms of Federal support please contact either Melinda Downing (, DOE EJ Program Manager, (202) 586-7703, or Danny Gogal, IWG Program Manager (202) 564-2576 for additional information.

1. Executive Order 12898 established the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice to help coordinate environmental justice planning among agencies. The mission of this group includes fostering collaborative projects among agencies and environmental justice communities.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences

Campaign against Climate Change presents:


Date: Saturday 6th December 2008

Time: 12 - 4pm

Start Venue: Grosvenor Square, London, UK

Speakers at the march will include: George Monbiot (Honorary President, Campaign against Climate Change); Michael Meacher MP(ex-environment minister); Mark Dowd (Operation Noah) Muzammal Hussain (London Islamic Network for the Environment - LINE) Nick Clegg MP (leader, Liberal Democrat Party), Caroline Lucas MEP (leader, Green party) and others.

This march is expected to draw thousands and is part of a series of demonstrations taking place throughout the world. The March on Parliament for the Climate marks the Saturday midway through the UN Climate Talks in Poznan, Poland. We make our demands on the UK government, in solidarity with the world's poorest and most vulnerable communities that will suffer worst and most immediately from climate change, caused overwhelmingly by the rich long-industrialised countries. For more information please visit:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

USDA Rural Development Staff EJ Guidance

The purpose of the USDA Rural Development Administrative Notice (AN) is to clarify the procedures used in complying with Executive Order (EO) 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, issued February 11, 1994, RD Instruction 7 CFR Part 1940-G and RUS 7 CFR Part 1794. This AN also clarifies the relationship and use of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in implementing EO 12898.

Environmental Justice (EJ) principles will be incorporated into Rural Development programs, activities, and services through existing requirements, primarily NEPA and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Rural Development, to the greatest extent practicable, will consider environmental justice principles in its decision-making using its existing NEPA environmental review and Civil Rights Impact Analysis processes.

It is Rural Development policy to actively administer and monitor its decision-making process to ensure that nondiscrimination is an integral part of its programs, activities, and services. Rural Development programs, activities, and services that have the potential for a disproportionately high and adverse effect on human health or the environment should include explicit consideration of their effects on minority and low-income populations. Procedures are necessary to provide meaningful opportunities for public involvement by members of minority and low-income populations during the development of environmental review documents that include identification of potential effects, alternatives (if necessary), and mitigation measures to reduce any disproportionate effect on minority and low-income populations.