Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Strengthening Environmental Justice Research and Decision Making

UPDATE: Strengthening Environmental Justice Research and Decision Making: A Symposium on the Science of Disproportionate Environmental Health Impacts

UPDATE: 100 days after the conclusion of the Strengthening Environmental Justice Research and Decision Making: A Symposium on the Science of Disproportionate Environmental Health Impacts, EPA has prepared an update that includes:

1) an overview of the Symposium participant recommendations;

2) EPA’s plan to work with the recommendations;

3) upcoming opportunities to provide additional comments and recommendations, and;

4) a reaffirmation of EPA’s commitment to work with community groups and the public to strengthen local environmental and human health outcomes.

EPA is accepting additional recommendations and feedback via their website and will host a teleconference on July 29th from 2-3pm Eastern. Information on how to participate on the teleconference call will be provided in the coming weeks.

For more information or to post a comment

For more information about the symposium

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brainstorming Session for Smart Growth Conference

The EPA and the Local Government Commission (LGC) are co-leading a brainstorming meeting with equity and environmental justice leaders from across the country for the purpose of brainstorming equity and environmental justice session topics for possible inclusion in the New Partners for Smart Growth 2011 conference program. The goal is to engage equity and EJ groups and hear directly from them what session topics would be relevant and inform their ongoing work in communities across the country.

While they are encouraging all to formally submit sessions proposals by the deadline of June 30th, they believe this conference call will provide the opportunity to identify a strong list of key issues to consider, and ideally a list of possible case studies/speakers that could be considered for inclusion in other session proposals received under several thematic categories. Putting together such a list will help them in their efforts to ensure that other sessions on the program outside the Equitable Development track include equity and EJ perspectives by including relevant case studies, speakers and respondents where appropriate.

The call will be held on Tuesday, June 29 at 3:00 EST. They realize this is short notice, but they are hopeful you can fit this conference call into your schedule. Please let them know right away if you can participate, and no later than June 25th. They will be sending out an agenda with call-in details on Monday, June 28th.

Please contact Michele Warren with questions.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Environmental Justice & the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

More than 370 callers participated on a call sponsored by the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) on Tuesday. Callers recommended that federal agencies should do a better job of ensuring that both the people working to clean up the oil in the Gulf of Mexico and on shore and residents of coastal communities are protected from the spill's health effects. The council advises EPA on environmental justice issues. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson participated on the call stating that, "The people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of this spill must be empowered during our response and the long-term recovery."

Both council members and members of the public who called in comments during the meeting, expressed concern about plans to dispose of oil wastes and thousands of miles of oiled boom in ordinary landfills after an EPA official told the commission that the agency had concluded the materials did not meet the legal definition of hazardous waste. Local communities in the area believe the oiled booms should be treated as a toxic material and be discarded in a safe way.

One participant maintained that BP had contracted with waste disposal giant Waste Management Inc. to use its landfills in Louisiana and other coastal states, but that the Waste Management landfill in Louisiana was not on a list of approved landfills in Louisiana's oil spill response plan.

Call participants expressed how oil spill workers also are fearful they will lose their jobs if they report illnesses they believe are linked to the fumes given off by the oil. Callers recommended that federal and state officials also need to do a better job publicizing fishing closures to fishers who don't speak English. (NOLA.com, 6/15/2010)

Friday, June 18, 2010

NEJAC Registration for July 27-29 Public Meeting

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) Registration for the July 27-29, 2010 Public Meeting NOW OPEN‏

The next NEJAC face-to-face meeting will take place in Washington, D.C., on July 27 through 29, 2010, at The Fairfax at Embassy Row. The meeting will include a Public Comment period.

Meeting Registration: Registration is required for everyone (including EPA and other federal employees). The registration deadline is 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, July 16, 2010. Meeting materials will be prepared based on the number of participants registered on July 16. (On-site registration will be available; however, meeting materials will be distributed first to those who registered in advance. Any remaining materials will be distributed on a first-come first-serve basis.)

There are four easy ways to register:

Online: Complete the online registration form at the NEJAC meetings page on EPA's Office of Environmental Justice Web Site.
By E-mail: Send an e-mail to with “Register for the July NEJAC Meeting” in the subject line. Please provide your name, organization, e-mail and telephone number for future follow-up as necessary.
By Fax: Print the Web page containing the registration form and fax to 877-773-0779.
By Phone: Leave a message at 877-773-0779. Please provide your name, organization, e-mail and telephone number for future follow-up as necessary.

Public Comment Period: Members of the public who wish to speak during the Public Comment period should pre-register by 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, July 16, 2010. Comments will be limited to five minutes to ensure that as many participants as possible wishing to provide a comment may do so. Only one representative of a community, organization or group will be allowed to speak.

Written comments can also be submitted for the record. The suggested format for individuals providing public comments is as follows: Name of Speaker, Name of Organization/Community, Address/Telephone/E-mail, Description of Concern and its Relationship to a Specific Policy Issue(s), and Recommendations or desired outcome. Written comments received by 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, July 16, 2010, will be included in the materials distributed to the members of the NEJAC. Written comments received after that time will be provided to the NEJAC as logistics allow. All written comments.
For more information, please contact EPA Support Contractor, APEX Direct Inc., at 877-773-0779 or.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Lawyers' Committee Environmental Justice Report

"Now is the Time: Environmental Injustice in the U.S. and Recommendations for Eliminating Disparities"

The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in collaboration with numerous environmental justice advocates, has released its report, "Now is the Time: Environmental Injustice in the U.S. and Recommendations for Eliminating Disparities." The purpose of the report is to outline recommendations on how the Administration can effectively utilize existing law to eliminate disparities in environmental protection and the agencies can fulfill their responsibilities under Executive Order 12898, "Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice In Minority Populations And Low-Income Populations."

Key recommendations include:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should emphatically and resolutely embrace a strong definition of environmental justice grounded in the central tenet that environmental justice is the prevention, reduction and elimination of the known disproportionate environmental burdens primarily on people of color, indigenous, and low-income communities.

EPA should make full use of existing legal authority to address environmen­tal assaults on people of color, indigenous, and low-income communities.

DOJ should develop guidelines for Title VI compliance in the context of emer­gency preparedness and emergency response for recipients of federal funding.

Reinstatement of the superfund tax on chemical and petrochemical manufacturers through congressional reauthorization of the Superfund tax.

The Administration should ensure that any carbon trading market is properly regulated to address and redress co-pollutant issues that are known to co-exist with the establishment of carbon markets and should prepare climate change disaster mitigation programs specifically for residents of urban, indigenous, low-income and environmental justice communities.

EPA should set federal guidelines for state and local schools agencies on indoor air quality in schools, integrated pest management, school chemical cleanouts, drinking water, school design, asbestos, PCBs in caulking, molds, comprehensive building inspections, and how pediatric environmental health specialty units (PEHSUs) can work with state health agencies on on-site investigations.

The Department of Education should endorse the EPA Model School Siting Guidelines and require all recipients of federal assistance to comply with it.

Eighty percent of the funding from the Surface Transportation Authorization Act should be committed to public transit, 20 percent to highway and road maintenance rather than new road construction. Under the Surface Transportation Authorization Act of 2009/10, a minimum of 50 percent of the entire Act's allocation for transit should be dedicated to operating purposes, with at least half of that restricted to bus operations.

Strengthen regulation of emissions from concentrated animal feeding opera­tions, such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and volatile organic compounds emissions. The Administration should ensure that rural areas are provided with ad­equate water and sewer services by working with local agencies and ensuring vigorous enforcement of the Safe Drinking Water Act in rural and semi-urban communities.
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
1401 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 400
Washington, D.C. 20005
Fax: 202-783-0857

Thursday, June 10, 2010

EPA NEJAC Conference Call on Gulf Oil Spill

Conference Call on EPA's Activities Related to Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill‏

Stakeholders and Interested Parties are invited to participate on a conference call hosted by EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), scheduled for Tuesday, June 15, 2010 from 1:00 - 4:30 p.m.

The primary purpose of this call is to discuss EPA’s activities related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, including cleanup and recovery actions, and the impacts of the spill on coastal environmental justice communities. There will be a public comment period from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EDT. Specifically, the NEJAC is seeking input about:

(1) how should EPA engage communities around the environmental cleanup and recovery actions;

(2) how should EPA engage other federal, state, tribal, and local governments to ensure that coastal planning and protection efforts are a high priority; and

(3) the scope of disaster preparedness efforts within communities.

Pre-registration is required to participate on the call. Registration closes Friday, June 11th at noon, EDT. A finite number of telephone lines will be reserved for the call. Full capacity is anticipated, so please register by:

(1) E-mail with “Register for the June NEJAC Teleconference” in the subject line. Please provide your name, organization, address, e-mail and telephone number for future follow-up as necessary.

(2) Phone or Fax: Send a fax (please print), or leave a voice message, with your name, organization, address, e-mail and telephone number to 877-773-1489.

(3) To register online

If you have further questions, please feel free to email or call: Doretta Reaves at or 202.564.7829.