Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Environmental Justice in Native America

Special Issue on Environmental Justice in Native America

Liebert Table of Contents
Environmental Justice
Volume: 4, Number: 4 December 2011

Original Articles

Self-Determining Environmental Justice for Native America
James M. Grijalva

Tribal Environmental Justice: Vulnerability, Trusteeship, and Equity under NEPA
Barbara Harper and Stuart Harris

The Recognition Dimensions of Environmental Justice in Indian Country
Kyle Powys Whyte

Radical Adaptation, Justice, and American Indian Nations
Sarah Krakoff

Medicine Food: Critical Environmental Justice Studies, Native North American Literature, and the Movement for Food Sovereignty
Joni Adamson

Environmental Justice, American Indians and the Cultural Dilemma: Developing Environmental Management for Tribal Health and Well-being
Darren J. Ranco, Catherine A. O'Neill, Jamie Donatuto, and Barbara L. Harper

A Method for Tribal Environmental Justice Analysis
Stuart Harris and Barbara Harper

Monday, December 12, 2011

EPA Awards $1 Million in Environmental Justice Grants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it awarded more than $1 million in grants to 46 non-profit and tribal organizations working to address environmental justice issues nationwide. EPA also announced it is seeking applicants for $1 million in environmental justice small grants expected to be awarded in 2012.

EPA’s environmental justice efforts aim to ensure equal environmental and health protections for all Americans, regardless of race or socioeconomic status. The grants enable non-profit organizations to conduct research, provide education, and develop solutions to local health and environmental issues in communities overburdened by harmful pollution.

The 2011 grants support activities including projects to protect children in the Boston-area from lead poisoning and asthma, conduct research on air quality in a portside Philadelphia community, and provide support to residents on the Red Lake Reservation in Minnesota to repair failing septic systems and identify water that is unsafe to drink. The 2012 grant solicitation is now open and will close on February 29, 2012. Applicants must be incorporated non-profits or tribal organizations working to educate, empower and enable their communities to understand and address local environmental and public health issues.

EPA will host four pre-application teleconference calls on December 15, 2011, January 12, 2012, February 1, 2012 and February 15, 2012 to help applicants understand the requirements. Environmental justice means the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income, in the environmental decision-making process.

Since 1994, the environmental justice small grants program has provided more than $23 million in funding to community-based nonprofit organizations and local governments working to address environmental justice issues in more than 1,200 communities. The grants represent EPA’s commitment to expand the conversation on environmentalism and advance environmental justice in communities across the nation.

More information on the Environmental Justice Small Grants program and a list of grantees

Environment Justice Small Grants 2012 Request for Proposals and schedule of pre-application teleconference calls

Thursday, November 10, 2011

EJ Strategies at Federal Agencies

Compendium of Federal Agencies' Policies, Strategies, Work/Implementation Plans, Guidance on Environmental Justice

Link to Federal Agencies' Strategies

In August, EJ IWG agencies signed the “Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898” and formally agreed to certain environmental justice commitments.

Among them, each federal agency agreed to post its strategy on its website for public comment. Those federal agencies that have not already made a strategy available for public comment have provided, or are working to provide, information to the public about their strategy development process.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Obama, The Black Community & Environmental Justice


November 2011 [Nov 9 Conference]

The President’s Commitment to African American Families

“For centuries, African American men and women have persevered to enrich our national life and bend the arc of history toward justice. From resolute Revolutionary War soldiers fighting for liberty to the hardworking students of today reaching for horizons their ancestors could have only imagined, African Americans have strengthened our Nation by leading reforms, overcoming obstacles and breaking down barriers” – President Obama, February 1, 2011

Environmental Justice

In too many American communities, minority families shoulder a disproportionate burden of pollution in the places where they live, work and learn. These disparities result in health challenges like asthma and heart disease and end up turning away job creators looking for attractive, healthy places to set up their businesses. In 2009, about 2,380,000 African Americans reported that they currently have asthma and African American women were 30 percent more likely to have asthma than white women. The President is committed to addressing those disparities and ensuring that all communities have the opportunity to enjoy the health and economic benefits of a clean environment and has begun to lay the ground work for achieving environmental justice for all Americans in a number of ways:

Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice. After a decade of inaction, in September 2010, the Obama Administration reconvened the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice, to ensure that federal agencies are working together as never before to tackle this persistent challenge and provide all Americans with strong federal protection from environmental and health hazards.

White House Environmental Justice Forum. In December 2010, at the White House Environmental Justice Forum, Cabinet Secretaries and other senior Administration officials met with more than 100 environmental justice leaders from across the country to engage advocates on issues affecting their communities, including reducing air pollution, addressing health disparities, and capitalizing on emerging clean energy job opportunities. This was a first-of-its kind forum and an opportunity to have an honest dialogue about opportunities and challenges to achieving environmental justice in communities across the country.

Memorandum of Understanding. Reflecting the dialogue, concerns and commitments made at the forum and other public events, in August of this year, 17 federal leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898 (MOU). This MOU better defines and broadens the mission of the EJ IWG and commits each agency to develop an environmental justice strategy. These strategies, which will be finalized in early 2012, will serve as a road map that will help integrate environmental justice into the programs agencies run, the policies they make, and the activities they engage in.

(The White House)

Monday, November 7, 2011

EPA Region 8 EJ Community Stakeholder Dialogue

Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice Community Stakeholder Dialogue

Hosted by: EPA Region 8 and the Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) 2011 Conference

Date: Wednesday, November 16 2011

Time: 6:30 - 9:00 PM (Doors Open at 6:00 PM)

Location: Denver Sheraton Hotel, Grand Ballroom1550 Court Place, Denver, Colorado 80202

Parking: Parking is available with two-hour metered street parking or in parking lots/garages. Parking is not reimbursed. Guests are encouraged to use local transportation. The bus shuttle service on the 16th street pedestrian mall is free.

The purpose of this meeting is to give community stakeholders the opportunity to engage in open dialog with federal agencies about environmental justice issues that concern them. Environmental justice encompasses a broad range of issues including access to resources, information and environmental decision making.

For more information please contact Nancy Curren (curren.nancy@epa.gov), 303.842.6195

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Annual Sierra Club Grassroots EJ Conference

Saturday, November 5, 20119:00am to 2:30pm
Lindenwood Christian Church2400 Union Avenue
Memphis, TN(Corner of Union and East Parkway
rita.harris@sierraclub.org or by phone at 1-901-324-7757

10th Annual Sierra Club Grassroots Environmental Conference

Registration & Coffee 8:30am
Opening Session 9:00am to 9:30am
Break 9:30am to 9:45am

Session #1 Workshops: 9:45am to 10:45am

1) Gravel Mining Threatens Our Drinking Water Aquifer – Dr. Nancy Brannon (Memphis, TN)
Groundwater Expert, Sierra Club
2) GMO Foods: Do We Really Know What We Are Eating? – Katherine Pendleton, DNP,
MSN, RN, Sierra Club TN Chapter (Nashville, TN)
3) Kilowatt Hours – Dan Joranko, (Nashville, TN) Tennessee Alliance for Progress
4) TN the Volunteer State for Radioactive Waste – Glenn Carroll, Nuclear Watch South (Atlanta, GA); & Ann Harris, We the People, Inc., Sierra Club Anti-Nuclear Taskforce, & TVA Whistleblower;
5) Health Effects of Toxic Air Pollution – Irv Sheffey (Washington, DC) Sierra Club EJ Organizer

Break 10:45am to 11:00am

Session #2 Workshops: 11:00am to 12 noon

6) Cancer Alley + Hurricanes + BP Oil – Darryl Malek-Wiley (New Orleans, LA) Sierra Club EJ
7) Do We Need to Overhaul Landfill Regulations? – Bruce Wood (Nashville, TN) BURNT, Inc.,
Tennessee Landfill Reform Activist
8) Urban Community Agriculture – Sizwe Herring (Nashville, TN) EarthMatters Educator & Permaculture Expert
9) Living in Harmony with Native Plants – Kristin Lamberson (Mississippi) Audubon Naturalist
10) Taking Blight to Court – Sheila Wright (Memphis, TN) Memphis City Beautiful Board
11) Radioactive Waste is Closer Than You Think – Glenn Carroll (Atlanta, GA) Nuclear Watch

LUNCH – 12 Noon to 1:00pm – Enjoy a hot catered lunch & meet new people!

1:00pm -KEYNOTE PANEL – “EJ Activist Stories & Testimonies”
Highlighting ongoing community struggles for Environmental Justice
2:00pm - Presentation of the 2011 Dick Mochow Environmental Justice Award
Door Prizes!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

American Public Health Association EJ Session

EJ Session at the Upcoming American Public Health Association Meeting

Session Title: Working Toward Achieving Environmental Justice through Scientific Enterprise, Policy Action, and Community Empowerment

Session Description: The purpose of this session is to share two products of a March 2010 US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Symposium on the science of disproportionate environmental health impacts with the public health community and other environmental justice stakeholders:

1) analytic essays on issues likely to contribute to disproportionate environmental health impacts, now published in the December issue American Journal of Public Health; and

2) an EPA report, "An Update on Ongoing and Future EPA Actions to Empower Communities and Advance the Integration of Environmental Justice in Decision Making and Research", which provides information on EPA's ongoing and proposed actions that address environmental justice issues raised by participants at the Symposium.

At this session, updates will be provided on other related activities within EPA, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and the Office of Minority Health within the Department of Health and Human Services, and feature perspectives of community EJ and social justice advocates on the potential impact of EPA's ongoing and planned actions on improving community health and environment.

More information about the March 2010 Symposium.

Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2011Time: 6:30PM - 7:30PMVenue: Room 204A, Walter E Washington Convention Center, Washington DC 20001

Session Co-Chairs

Onyemaechi C. Nweke, DrPH, MPH
Office of Environmental Justice, US EPA

Devon Payne-Sturges, DrPH
National Center for Environmental Research, US EPA


Lisa F. Garcia, JD
Senior Advisor to the EPA Administrator on Environmental Justice
Associate Assistant Administrator, Office of Environmental Justice, US Environmental Protection Agency

John Ruffin,PhD
Director, National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities

Garth Graham, MD, MPH, FACP
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services

Hilton Kelley
Founder and CEO, Community In-Power Development Association, Inc., Port Arthur, TX North American Winner, Goldman Environmental Prize (2011)American Public Health Association Damu Smith Environmental Achievement Award (2008)

Bill Gallegos
Executive Director, Communities for a Better Environment, Huntington, CA Member, California Environmental Justice Advisory Committee

For more information, please contact: Onyemaechi Nweke: Phone: 202 566 2314

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

EJ at the U.S. Department of Labor

The US Department of Labor (DOL or Department) has announced a renewed effort to achieve environmental justice (EJ). The Department views environmental justice from a workplace training, health and safety perspective. The Department is developing an environmental justice strategy that is in line with the mission of the Department and Secretary Solis' vision for the future: good jobs for everyone.

The vision of good jobs for everyone includes ensuring that workplaces are safe and healthy; helping workers who are in low-wage jobs or out of the labor market find a path into middle-class jobs; and helping middle-class families remain in the middle-class. The Department's environmental justice strategy focuses on agencies directly involved with worker training (the Employment Training Administration (ETA)), and health and safety issues (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

As DOL takes a fresh look at our EJ policies in order to strengthen the EJ process, they will be looking for ideas and feedback. DOL invites public comment for how they can address environmental justice through programs, policies, regulations or reporting requirements. The site for public comment will be open until November 18th. The Department will then review those comments. A strategy is planned in 2012.

The Department of Labor is committed to environmental justice. President Obama has renewed agencies' environmental justice planning by reinvigorating Executive Order 12898 (EO 12898), which tasked several Federal agencies with making environmental justice part of their mission. The agencies were directed to do so by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, the disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority and low-income populations.

In August 2011, agencies listed in EO 12898 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (EJ MOU), which, among other things, commits agencies to develop a final environmental justice strategy. So please join the conversation.

EPA Events This Month in Albuquerque, NM

The Environmental Protection Agency is pleased to announce the following six officially EPA sponsored events for the week of October 24th-27th, 2011 in Albuquerque, NM

The Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice Monday, October 24, 2011 3:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. Mountain Time The Albuquerque Marriott 2101 Louisiana Blvd. NE Salons F-J The Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice will conduct a community dialogue on Monday, October 24, 2011. Information regarding meeting details will be provided at a later date. More information on the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice.

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) Meeting Tuesday, October 25 and Wednesday October 26, 2011 The meeting will convene at 9:00 a.m. and reconvene at 8:45 a.m. Mountain Time The Albuquerque Marriott 2101 Louisiana Blvd. NE Salon F-J The next face-to-face meeting of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) will be held at the Albuquerque Marriott Hotel, 2101 Louisiana Boulevard, NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87109, on October 25 and 26, 2011.

NEJAC Public Comment Period - The NEJAC meeting will host a public comment period on Tuesday, October 25, 2011, starting at 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time. This session of the NEJAC will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to share their concerns and what they would like the NEJAC to advise EPA to do about the issue. More information on the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

EPA Stakeholder Meeting on Uranium Legacy Contamination Issues featuring EPA Assistant Administrator, Mathy StanislausTuesday, October 25, 2011 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time The Albuquerque Marriott 2101 Louisiana Blvd. NE Carlsbad Room Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, will hold a stakeholder meeting on legacy contamination issues related to uranium mining.

A White House & EPA Stakeholder Meeting on Small Business, Job Training and Green Jobs featuring EPA Assistant Administrator, Mathy StanislausWednesday, October 26, 2011 10:30 a.m. - Noon Mountain Time The Albuquerque Marriott 2101 Louisiana Blvd. NE Carlsbad Room Mathy Stanislaus, senior official with the Obama Administration, will hold a stakeholder meeting on the environment and jobs. Mr. Stanislaus is the Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. This visit is part of the Administration's plan to hear from local stakeholders across the country. Specific topics include, but are not limited to green jobs, small business capacity building, workforce development and job training.

EPA Tribal Consultation Meeting on EPA's Plan EJ 2014Thursday, October 27, 2011 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time The Albuquerque Marriott 2101 Louisiana Blvd. NE Salon F-J The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is consulting and coordinating with federally recognized tribes on Plan EJ 2014 and has scheduled an in-person meeting with tribal leaders in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Thursday, October 27, from 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM, to obtain input on Plan EJ 2014 and the nine Implementation Plans. The targeted audience is tribal government leaders and their designated representatives. More information on EPA's tribal consultation and coordination on Plan EJ 2014.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Environmental Justice at USDOT

The U.S. Department of Transportation is renewing its effort to achieve Environmental Justice (EJ). As DOT takes a fresh look at EJ policies in order to strengthen the EJ process, the will be looking for feedback and ideas from transportation and community stakeholders. From now until the end of the year, DOT invites you to provide your insights, experiences, and ideas for enhancing environmental justice in transportation related activities.

Here is a review of some upcoming opportunities to participate in the conversation:

Log on to the National On-Line Dialogue on Environmental Justice and Transportation. You can join colleagues from across the country in a public conversation about Environmental Justice and Transportation.
Review the revised USDOT Environmental Justice Strategy and submit comments.

Register for the National Webinar to learn more about Environmental justice and share your insights, scheduled for October 20th.

RSVP for the National Public Meeting on Environmental Justice and Transportation, to hear from Senior Leadership at DOT on the Department's EJ work on November 21st at the US Department of Transportation in Washington, DC. DOTRSVP@dot.gov

Sign up to participate in targeted sessions conducted by the Federal Transit Administration.

At DOT, EJ concerns and goals should be considered throughout all public engagement efforts, from project planning through construction and operation. This includes public outreach conducted during transportation planning and during the environmental reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The goals of EJ are:

To avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority populations and low-income populations.

To ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decisionmaking process.

To prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority and low-income populations.

DOT values the insight and experience of grantees, transportation planners, affected community members, and other stakeholders. We hope you will take part in the upcoming discussions and engagement opportunities on EJ at DOT.

For more information about the aforementioned activities, please contact Rebecca Searl Higgins

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Dept of Commerce Releases Draft EJ Strategy

Department of Commerce Releases Draft Environmental Justice Strategy for Public Comment

The Department of Commerce announces the release of its draft Environmental Justice Strategy

On August 4, 2011, the Department of Commerce and other Federal agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop or revise existing environmental justice (EJ) strategies to protect minority and low-income populations from experiencing disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects caused by an agency’s programs, policies, and activities.

In compliance with this commitment, the Department of Commerce is releasing for public comment a draft EJ Strategy, which will completely replace the Department’s original EJ Strategy produced in 1995 in response to Executive Order 12898 section 1-103. Through October 31, 2011, the Department welcomes any comments or feedback on this draft EJ Strategy.

In addition, the Department is soliciting feedback on the following specific topics:
Are there additional Departmental programs, policies, or activities that should be included in the EJ Strategy in addition to those already identified?

What should the Department’s environmental justice goals and objectives be in relation to providing and supporting climate science, services and adaptation?

Department of Commerce Draft Environmental Justice Strategy

NEJAC Sessions Available Via Teleconference

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) Public Meeting:

Sessions Available via Teleconference Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Registration is Now Open (Advance registration closes October 17)

During the upcoming face-to-face meeting of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) on October 25-26, 2011, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the following two sessions will be available via teleconference. The teleconferences will take place on Tuesday, October 25, for those unable to attend in person:

1) Panel Discussion on U.S.-Mexico Border 2020 (11:00 a.m. to noon Mountain Time)*

2) EPA’s Tribal Program (1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mountain Time)

There will NOT be a public comment period during these sessions.

Please note that a limited number of lines will be available, and those who are pre-registered will be given priority. Participating individuals will be able to hear “real time” presentations and NEJAC member discussions on the topics specified above.

You can register as follows:

By E-mail with “Register for the NEJAC-October Teleconference” in the subject line. Provide your name, organization, city, state, e-mail address, and telephone number for future follow-up; and specify the session(s) that you will attend.

By Phone or Fax to 877-773-1489 with your name, organization, city, state, e-mail address, and telephone number. Please specify “NEJAC-October Teleconference” and the session(s) that you will attend in your fax or voice message.

Non-English speaking attendees wishing to arrange for a foreign language interpreter may also make appropriate arrangements by calling 877-773-1489.

Members of the public who wish to attend one or both sessions must pre-register by Noon Mountain Time on October 17, 2011.

Information about services for individuals with disabilities: For information about access or services for individuals with disabilities, please contact Ms. Estela Rosas, APEX Direct, Inc., at 877-773-1489 or via email.

Friday, October 7, 2011

CARE Grant Recipients Recognized at White House

The EPA will mark the award of 100 cooperative agreement grants by EPA’s Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) program during a White House event scheduled for the morning of October 18, 2011.

The CARE program enables and assists communities across the country better understand, address, and deal with their environmental problems through local partnerships. Since its launch in 2005, the CARE program has leveraged EPA grant funding dollar-for-dollar with in-kind donations to 87 communities in 40 states and territories with over 1,700 partners engaged.

CARE communities are addressing EPA priorities and goals on climate change, improving air quality, assuring the safety of chemicals, cleaning up their communities, and protecting America’s waters. The CARE program has demonstrated its success in a number of ways from receiving a very positive third party evaluation by the National Academy of Public Administration to modeling the Administrator’s vision of “One EPA” to fulfilling the Agency priority of “Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism.”

On the morning of October 18, 2011, participants and other invitees will celebrate the CARE Program with a briefing on community partnerships and green jobs followed by a tour of the White House.

HUD Releases Draft EJ Strategy

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Draft Environmental Justice Strategy Released

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is happy to announce the release of its draft Environmental Justice Strategy. This EJ strategy is a four-year plan to address environmental justice concerns and increase access to environmental benefits through HUD policies, programs, and activities. Our Department is committed to meeting the goals of Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations,” which states that each federal agency, with the law as its guide, should make environmental justice part of its mission.

This release is the latest step in a larger Administration-wide effort to ensure strong protection from environmental and health hazards for all Americans. In August, federal agencies signed the “Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898” (EJ MOU), which committed each agency to, among other things, finalizing an EJ strategy and releasing annual implementation reports.

The draft strategy will be open for public comment for 45 days, or until November 14, 2011. Comments can be submitted by emailing EJStrategy@hud.gov or by attending an Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice Listening Session. The department will then review those comments and finalize the strategy by February 2012. After the strategy is final, the Department and its federal partners will continue to engage stakeholders through outreach, education and stakeholder events and respond to public comments through annual implementation reports.

Draft Environmental Justice Strategy

Comments may be emailed to: EJStrategy@hud.gov

Links to the other federal EJ Strategies are expected to be posted on the Interagency Working Group webpage at by Friday, October 7th.

For more information about the EJ MOU

EJ IWG Releases Community Resource Guide

Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group (EJ IWG) Releases Community Resource Guide and Interagency Directory

The community resource guide includes programs within agencies that may assist communities in reducing toxic exposures. The program may provide technical assistance, federal funding or a combination of both technical assistance and federal funding. Through this and other efforts, federal agencies are recommitting to improving the health and sustainability of communities across America.

Community-Based Federal Environmental Justice Guide (PDF)

The interagency directory provides basic information about the role of the federal agencies contained in this publication including their organization chart and key contact information for agency program areas.

Environmental Justice Federal Interagency Directory (PDF)

In addition to these resources, a compendium on federal strategies, policies, guidance documents and work plans for implementing the Executive Order 12898 is also available on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) website at IWG Compendium.

For more information about the EJ IWG visit: http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/interagency/index.html

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Liebert Online Environmental Justice Volume

Liebert Online

Environmental Justice Volume: 4, Number: 3 September 2011

If you need any further help, please email us at e-toc@liebertpub.com.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia Fourth Annual Symposium on Equality:

Overstudied and Underserved: Uses of the Law to Promote Healthy, Sustainable Urban Communities

8:30 a.m. - 4:45 p.m. at the Arch Street Meeting House, 4th and Arch Streets, Philadelphia, PA

The Thaddeus Stevens Award Dinner

5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Down Town Club, 6th & Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, PA

An in-depth look at legal and advocacy tools for protecting minority and low-income communities disproportionately affected by negative environmental impacts, both by stemming further pollution and by crafting a positive vision of their environmental and economic revitalization.

Topics will include:

What is environmental justice, and where do we stand?
How can overburdened communities most effectively organize around environmental justice and public health issues?
How can we foster cross-disciplinary collaborations, incorporating law, public health and medical sciences, and other technical sciences, to inform and energize environmental justice advocacy and litigation?
How can cumulative impact screening tools best be designed and put to use in environmental litigation and the region's regulatory procedures?
How can we get past the false choice between jobs and the environment and create healthy, sustainable, and prosperous communities in historically overburdened neighborhoods?

Featuring keynote speaker Vernice Miller-Travis,
Vice Chair, Maryland State Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities; Co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice; member of National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC)

Other community leaders and experts from the Philadelphia region and around the country will serve as panelists and speakers, sharing their expertise in order to give us the practical tools needed to drive positive environmental change in disadvantaged communities, including:

Alan Greenberger, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development and Director of Commerce, City of Philadelphia
Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director/Director of Policy Initiatives, WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Arthur Frank, Professor and Chair, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University
Julie Becker, Founder and President, Women's Health and Environmental Network
Eileen Gauna, Professor of Law, University of New Mexico
Leslie Fields, National Environmental Justice Director, Sierra Club
Melissa Kim, Director, North 5th Street Revitalization Project, Korean Community
Louis M. Bell, Chief of the Division of General Pediatrics, Attending physician for Infectious Diseases, & Chair of the Infection Control and Prevention Committee, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

The Symposium is being chaired by Law Center Board Member Donald K. Joseph, Associate Professor of Law at Rutgers Camden, where he teaches poverty law, ethics and professionalism. Mr. Joseph has litigated in diverse matters and was listed in "Best Lawyers in America" for his environmental litigation.
6 CLE Credits (pending approval) will be offered for this portion of the event.C ontinental Breakfast and Lunch will be served.

Followed by a cocktail reception, silent auction & The Thaddeus Stevens Award Dinner
5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at the Down Town Club, 6th & Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, PA

The Law Center is honored to announce that we will present our Thaddeus Stevens Award to environmental justice pioneer and emeritus Law Center attorney Jerry Balter!

The Thaddeus Stevens Award, given out each year to individuals who have made substantial contributions to equality and justice in the issue area examined in that year's Symposium, this year recognizes Jerry's tenacious lawyering on behalf of minority and impoverished communities throughout the Philadelphia region victimized by disproportionate environmental harm.

Monday, September 19, 2011

6th Annual State of EJ in America Conference


EJ Conference, Inc. announces the 6th Annual State of Environmental Justice in America Conference will convene April 3-5, 2012 at the DoubleTree Crystal City.

Since 2007, EJ Conference, Inc. has presented a premier environmental justice conference in Washington, DC, each spring.

The 2012 Conference will follow the same pattern as the previous conferences, and will endeavor to feature activities, including:

Meet the Agencies, Small Town/Rural Community Business Forum,

Minority Alternative and Renewable Energy Forum and new activities aimed at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and

Other Minority Serving Institutions.

The Conference Call for Papers and Presentations will be released by the end of September.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

EPA Environmental Justice Community Outreach Call

October 6, 2011 at 2 p.m. ET

Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has made Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice one of EPA’s top priorities. In support of this priority, EPA invites environmental justice advocates to participate on the next Quarterly Environmental Justice Community Outreach Call, which will take place on October 6, 2011 at 2 p.m. ET.

The purpose of these calls is to provide information to participants about the Agency’s EJ activities and maintain an open dialogue with EJ advocates. As EPA continues to advance Plan EJ 2014, the Agency hopes that these calls will better inform the public about EPA’s EJ work and enhance opportunities to take advantage of federal activities. Listen to, or read about, previous calls.

EPA is taking suggestions on agenda topics for the upcoming call. After receiving your suggestions, EPA will select the topic(s) that are of general concern to communities. Please keep in mind that the call will only last one hour, so the number of topics discussed will be limited. Submit a topic.

For more information about the Administrator's priorities

For more information about Plan EJ 2014

Chicago EJ Groups Fight Leucadia Power Plant

Eight organizations on Chicago's Southeast Side have formed a coalition, the Environmental Justice Alliance of Greater Southeast Chicago, to help ensure that new and existing companies comply with air- and water-pollution limits. The groups include People for Community Recovery, the Southeast Environmental Task Force, East Side United Methodist Church and the Sierra Club. A harsh contradiction moved the groups to act: Within a month after Governor Pat Quinn beefed up laws intended to protect poor and minority communities from toxic pollution, he signed legislation that cleared the way for the Leucadia National Corporation coal-to-gas plant (proposed for site at left) in a low-income Chicago neighborhood where people already breathe some of the nation's dirtiest air.

The activists vowed to hold public officials and environmental regulators accountable for their promises to safeguard children, the elderly and others who are more vulnerable to toxic chemicals and heavy metals. The activists want jobs, but they want jobs and industry that don't pollute our neighborhoods and make their children sick.

Nearly two dozen of the region's top polluters are within eight miles of Altgeld Gardens and other neighborhoods ringing Lake Calumet in the city's southeast corner. Activists led by Johnson's are angry that Quinn signed legislation in July paving the way for a new plant that plans to turn coal and oil refinery waste into natural gas. The site is two blocks from Washington High School, 3535 E. 114th St., where a monitor shows the neighborhood's air already has the state's highest levels of toxic chromium and cadmium, as well as sulfates, which can trigger asthma attacks. It also has some of the state's highest levels of lung-damaging soot and brain-damaging lead.

Developers of the coal-to-gas plant say it will turn dirty coal into cleaner natural gas, create 1,000 construction jobs and add 200 permanent jobs in an area decimated by plant closings. But it could be sidetracked for reasons other than the extra pollution it would create. The holding company for Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas announced last week that it won't buy the plant's synthetic gas, saying customers would be forced to subsidize it through heating bills that could jump by 9 percent a year. The move could make it more difficult for New York-based Leucadia National Corporation to obtain financing for the project.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency also opposes a bid by the site's current owner to transfer pollution credits that would enable the coal-to-gas plant to operate in an area where overall air pollution already violates federal and state standards. (Chicago Tribune, 9/15/2011)

EARTHSEED Consulting

Using regenerative strategies and new media approaches, EARTHSEED Consulting engages multiple stakeholders in the design and implementation of environmental projects aimed at diverse communities.

With over 25 years of combined professional experience in business, media, education and environmental sectors, EARTHSEED Consulting leverages their broad networks to foster collaboration and ensure measurable success.

Whether successfully delivering Toyota’s first African American Green Initiative, integrating permaculture and environmental literacy into San Francisco's Unified School District, producing an original urban green living television series and training youth to produce the bay areas largest solar powered hip hop music festival, their work represents a new model of engagement at the intersection of culture, media, environmental awareness and sustainable solutions.

Their services cannot be put into a box, but are customized to meet the individual needs of each of their clients.

Here is a taste of what they offer:

Strategic development & implementation
Marketing and communications
Curriculum and workshop design
Public speaking
Group facilitation
Multimedia content development
Green event production
Youth leadership training

Pandora Thomas’ life and work are rooted in creating a world where all people have access to empowering and hands on environmental education experiences. She is passionate about deepening her and others connection to the natural rhythms of our earth in order to heal our communities.

She is co-founder of Earthseed Consulting LLC, a holistic consulting firm whose work deepens the impacts of environmental advocacy in the lives of diverse communities. Most recently she directed the Environmental Service Learning Initiative as well as serving as the environmental educator for Grind for the Green. Both programs aim to reconnect youth of color to the earth using innovative strategies.

Her education has sought to link issues such as global affairs, womens rights, the environment and sustainability, racial justice and youth empowerment. She studied at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs, Teachers College, and Tufts University.

She is a credentialed multiple subjects teacher, a naturalist and outdoor education instructor, as well as a certified green building professional and permaculture teacher who has created and delivered curriculum to pre-k through adult audiences throughout the US around multiple themes including human rights, environmental justice, and outdoor and environmental education.

She has lectured extensively around issues of diversity, women's leadership, the environment, and human rights. Her writing includes a childrens book, various curricula and a greenbuilding manual for youth. She has studied and lived in over ten countries and some of her other achievements include presenting at Tedx Denver, being awarded fellowships to Columbia University Human Rights Program as well as Green For All’s Green Fellow Program. She also volunteers regularly and served as a Global Peer to four Nigerian women working to bring safe water technology to their communities through the Global Women’s Water Initiative.

Zakiya Harris is a California native, who has been working as an artist, educator and activist for the past 10 years. She received her B.A. in Political Science and History from Rutgers University and attended New College of Law in San Francisco before leaving to pursue her life long passion of teaching. She has taught elementary through collegiate level in a variety of public and private settings. In 2003, she became the lead trainer at the DJ Project where she facilitated job training and entrepreneurship modules using the medium of hip-hop culture. In 2007, she Co-Founded Grind for the Green the largest youth led “green” social media and events program in the nation, which is committed to moving young people of color from the margins to the epicenter of the environmental movement using hip-hop, art and culture. The program has been heralded for its innovation and production of the 1st Solar Powered Hip-Hop Music Concert in the Bay Area. In 2008, she became the first African-American Regional Director of the San Francisco Green Festival, the largest sustainability event on the planet, where she served for two years.

Named one to watch by Grist.org, some of her achievements include receiving the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights Future Leaders award, serving as a Fellow for Green For All under the direction of Van Jones and presenting at Tedx Denver. Recently she co-founded Earthseed Consulting LLC her first for profit venture, the firm is dedicated to the reconnection of communities of color to the earth. She is also an accomplished dancer, vocalist, actor and member of the west coast based neo folkloric ensemble Ase Dance Theater Collective. Her highest honor in life is being a mother to her beautiful 5 year old daughter.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Plan EJ 2014 Released by EPA

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the release of Plan EJ 2014, a three-year, comprehensive plan to advance environmental justice efforts in nine areas, including rulemaking, permitting, enforcement, and science. Plan EJ 2014 aims to protect people’s health in communities overburdened by pollution, to empower communities to take action to improve their health and environment, and to establish partnerships with local, state, tribal and federal governments and organizations to promote sustainable communities where a clean environment and healthy economy can thrive.

Plan EJ 2014 is EPA’s strategy to meet the mandate of Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations,” which states that each federal agency, with the law as its guide, should make environmental justice part of its mission.

EPA released the draft plan for public comment in fall 2010 and spring 2011 and held forums and listening sessions in communities across the country. EPA, along with its federal partners, will continue to conduct outreach, education, stakeholder forums and listening sessions as it moves forward to implement EO 12898 and Plan EJ 2014. EPA will issue annual reports documenting the progress toward meeting the commitments outlined in Plan EJ 2014. The annual reports will be made available to the public through EPA’s website.

Plan EJ 2014

EPA Office of Environmental Justice

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five Local EPA EJ Jobs Grants

EPA Dallas Regional Administrator Al Armendariz announced Wednesday that five local environmental organizations have been awarded $487,500 in grants by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for environmental justice, job training and education programs. The grants announced at a ceremony Wednesday at the New Orleans Healing Center on St. Claude Avenue were:

Louisiana Green Corps, $300,000 environmental job training grant to train low-income residents for jobs in energy efficiency and green building; solar and/or solar thermal system installation; and materials reuse, deconstruction and recycling. The program will last two years. The Green Corps acts as a recycling center for paint and construction materials and provides those materials for rebuilding projects in the city.

Global Green USA, $100,000 green jobs pilot program grant for local youth job training and placing workers with local, small construction contractors. The organization’s NOLA Wise program, operating with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the city of New Orleans, is renovating existing homes to be energy efficient, providing contractors and apprentices with employment opportunities.

Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, $32,500 pollution-control grant, in partnership with Nurtured World, to provide Lower 9th Ward residents with energy efficiency training.

Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association, $30,000 environmental education grant to provide local youth with training to monitor air quality in eastern New Orleans.

Louisiana Bucket Brigade, $25,000 environmental justice grant to provide air-quality sampling around industrial areas in southeast Louisiana. The organization has used its air-quality sampling to support successful Clean Air Act lawsuits against several local refineries.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

NEJAC Public Meeting Albuquerque, New Mexico

National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC)

Public Meeting

October 25-26, 2011,

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Advance Registration is Now Open until October 7

The next face-to-face meeting of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) will be held at The Albuquerque Marriott Hotel, 2101 Louisiana Boulevard, NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87109, on October 25 and 26, 2011. The meeting will include a public comment period.

Meeting Registration: Registration is required for everyone (including EPA and other federal employees). Advance registration closes at Noon Mountain Time on Friday, October 7, 2011. Meeting materials will be prepared based on the number of participants who have pre-registered by that date.

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-served basis.

There are four easy ways to register:

Online: Register online

By E-mail: Send an e-mail to Meetings@AlwaysPursuingExcellence.com with “Register for the NEJAC October 2011 Meeting” in the subject line. Please provide your name, organization, mailing address (including city, state, and zip code), e-mail address, 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, job title, organization, mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone number for future follow-up as necessary. Non-English speaking attendees wishing to arrange for a foreign language interpreter also may make appropriate arrangements by calling the number above.

Hotel Reservations. A limited number of rooms have been reserved at the prevailing government rate, under the group code “EPA-NEJAC.” If you are planning to stay at The Albuquerque Marriott for the meeting, you must contact the hotel directly to reserve your room. Call 1-800-334-2086 or by visiting the website. To be eligible for the negotiated room block rate, you must contact the hotel no later than Tuesday, October 11 at midnight.

Public Comment Sign-Up: Members of the public who wish to speak during the Public Comment period should pre-register by Noon Mountain Time on Friday, October 7, 2011. To accommodate the large number of people who want to address the NEJAC, only one representative of a community, organization, or group will be allowed to speak. (On-site public comment sign-up will also be available; however, those who sign-up in advance will be called to speak first.)

Written comments also can be submitted for the record. The suggested format for individuals providing written public comments is as follows:

name of speaker
name of organization/community
city and state
e-mail address
a brief description of the concern, and what you want the NEJAC to advise EPA to do

Written comments received by Noon Mountain Time on Friday, October 7, 2011, 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 time allows.All written comments should be sent to Meetings@AlwaysPursuingExcellence.com.

For more information, please contact EPA Support Contractor, APEX Direct Inc., at 877-773-0779 or Meetings@AlwaysPursuingExcellence.com.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

EJ IWG Announces Regional Public Meetings

The Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ IWG) will conduct public meetings in August 2011.

The purpose of the stakeholder meetings is to promote public input with federal agencies in compliance with the Environmental Justice Executive Order No. 12898. These meetings are intended to provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to talk about ways that federal agencies can share information about community-focused work or opportunities and can most effectively work with community representatives experiencing environmental issues.

For more information contact Sherri White (white.sherri@epa.gov) or Dorris Riddick (riddick.dorris@epa.gov ).

Atlanta, GA, August 17, 2011, 3:00 - 6:30 pm

EPA Region 4 and the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, will host an EJ IWG stakeholder dialogue on Wednesday, August 17, 2011, from 3:00 - 6:30 pm at Clark-Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA. While this meeting will draw on community organizations, youth groups and students from the surrounding university community there will be some emphasis on the work on young people in environmental projects and environmental justice. Please send your RSVP to Karen Smith (smith.karen@epa.gov ). Space is limited.

Detroit, MI, August 24, 2011, 2:00 - 5:00 pm

The EJ IWG will conduct a stakeholder meeting on August 24, from 2:00 - 5:00 pm in conjunction with the EPA Environmental Justice Conference. The stakeholder meeting provides an opportunity for community leaders, elected officials, state and local government representatives and others to have a conversation with federal agency representatives to highlight local successes and to discuss community environmental justice concerns.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Environmental Justice Act: Chicago

Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation creating a commission to ensure minorities and the poor aren't disproportionately affected by environmental pollution. The Environmental Justice Act was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Chicago Heights and Rep. Will Davis of East Hazel Crest.

It creates a commission that will analyze state laws and policies to ensure no population bears the brunt of pollution risks. The panel will make recommendations to the governor and Legislature.

The new law addresses concerns about rising asthma rates and other health problems. Race, income or nationality shouldn't determine whether a community has clean air and water.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will provide administrative support to the commission. Members will include lawmakers, the public and health, environmental and business advocates. (Chicago Tribune, 8/16/2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

EPA EJ Eco-Ambassador Diversity Internship Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the Environmental Justice (EJ) eco-Ambassador program. Last year Administrator Lisa P. Jackson introduced the EPA eco-Ambassador program with the goal to empower communities to be safer and healthier. EPA is happy to launch this internship program to focus on environmental justice, one of Administrator Jackson's top priorities. EPA is looking for energetic and highly motivated graduate level students to work on addressing environmental justice.

Numerous opportunities are available within EPA for students to gain valuable work experience while contributing to the mission of protecting human health and the environment. Student internship opportunities are available at EPA's regional offices nationwide through the EJ eco-Ambassador program.

The goal of the internship program is to:

· Provide an opportunity for graduate level students to work collaboratively with EPA offices to support community based programs andincrease local community's capacity to address environmentalconcerns.

· Facilitate career development opportunities for graduate levelstudents who have been involved in or have a strong interest inenvironmental justice.

APPLICATION PROCESS Graduate students interested in the EJ eco-Ambassador program should apply through to the Student Diversity Internship Program (SDIP) by August 19th, 2011. Internship placements are within a 50 mile radius of student academic institution. In your application please indicate that you are interested in the EJ eco-Ambassador Program.


· All U.S. citizens, including residents of Puerto Rico, the VirginIslands, and other U.S. territories may apply

· Applicants must be full-time graduate students attending an U.S. accredited institution as recognized by the U.S. Department of Education

· Applicants must have a minimum 2.8 on a 4.0 grading scale (Baverage and above); and

· Have previously been involved or have a strong interest in environmental justice, social justice issues and/or environmental health disparities in an academic, volunteer and/ or employment setting

· Applicants may be pursuing a degree in: Environmental HealthScience, Public Health, Public Policy, Environmental Management, Environmental Law, other areas relating to public service, and environmental concerns.


· Stipend and Support: Graduate Stipend ($6,000)

· Internship Experience: 10-week part-time experience at EPAHeadquarters, Regions and/or Labs.

· Professional Development: Student orientation, web-based professional development training, networking through UNCFSP Virtual Network and portal opportunity (internships, scholarships, etc).

Visit the EPA Environmental Justice website for additional Informationon Environmental Justice Activities. Mustafa S. Ali, Associate Director Office of Environmental Justice 202-564-2606202-501-0740

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Obama Agencies Sign EJ Memorandum of Understand

The Obama Administration today announced Federal agencies have agreed to develop environmental justice strategies to protect the health of people living in communities overburdened by pollution and provide the public with annual progress reports on their efforts. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder were joined by agency heads across the Administration in signing the “Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898” (EJ MOU). "

Environmental justice means that all communities overburdened by pollution – particularly minority, low income and tribal communities – deserve the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, equal access to the Federal decision-making process, and a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

The signing of the EJ MOU is the latest in a series of steps the Obama Administration has taken to elevate the environmental justice conversation and address the inequities that may be present in some communities. Last September, Jackson and Sutley reconvened the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ IWG) for the first time in more than a decade. In December, at the White House Environmental Justice Forum, Cabinet Secretaries and other senior Administration officials met with more than 100 environmental justice leaders from across the country to engage advocates on issues that are affecting their communities, including reducing air pollution, addressing health disparities, and capitalizing on emerging clean energy job opportunities.

The MOU advances agency responsibilities outlined in the 1994 Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.” The Executive Order directs each of the named Federal agencies to make environmental justice part of its mission and to work with the other agencies on environmental justice issues as members of the EJ IWG. The EJ MOU broadens the reach of the EJ IWG to include participant agencies not originally named in Executive Order 12898 and adopts an EJ IWG charter, which provides the workgroup with more structure and direction. It also formalizes the environmental justice commitments that agencies have made over the past year, providing a roadmap for agencies to better coordinate their efforts.

Specific areas of focus include considering the environmental justice impacts of climate adaptation and commercial transportation, and strengthening environmental justice efforts under the National Environmental Policy Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The MOU also outlines processes and procedures to help overburdened communities more efficiently and effectively engage agencies as they make decisions.

The following agencies signed the EJ MOU: Environmental Protection Agency; White House Council on Environmental Quality; Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Justice; Department of Agriculture; Department of Commerce; Department of Defense; Department of Education; Department of Energy; Department of Homeland Security; Department of Housing and Urban Development; Department of Interior; Department of Labor; Department of Transportation; Department of Veterans Affairs; General Services Administration; and Small Business Administration.

Read the EJ MOU

More information on the EJ IWG

Friday, July 29, 2011

President Obama Announces Energy Nominee

Dot Harris, Nominee for Director, Ofc of Minority Economic Impact, Dept of Energy

Today the President of the United States announced his intent to nominate Dot Harris, left, of Atlanta, Georgia to be his Director of the Office of Minority Impact and Diversity for the United States Department of Energy. Since 2006, Ms. Harris has served as the National Secretary of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, and the chair of the Association’s Energy Entrepreneur Committee. Dot Harris is currently President and CEO of Jabo Industries, LLC, a minority-woman owned management consulting firm concentrating primarily in the energy, information technology, and healthcare industries.

Before joining GE, Ms. Harris was an officer and Vice President of Operations & Production for ABB Service, Inc. She also spent twelve years as Field Services Engineer and Services Manager with Westinghouse Electric Company. Ms. Harris currently serves as the National Secretary for the American Association of Blacks in Energy.

She holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC and a M.S. in Technology Management from Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, GA. (DOE, AABE, Photo courtesy AABE)

Environmental Professionals of Color- National

The Environmental Professionals of Color- National (EPOC National) is a network of leaders, many of whom are the only person or one of the few people of color working at their environmental institutions. The purpose of this network is to provide a safe space for connecting people of color across the U.S. to share information, provide support, and discuss in depth the issues we care about.

EPOC National members work on a diverse array of environmental issues, including conservation, global warming, sustainability, environmental health, an environmental justice. They fill a unique and valuable role as bridges between the environmental community and communities of color.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Environmental Justice Website

The newly-launched Environmental Justice Community Information Website is a resource for environmental justice stakeholders, community activists, elected officials, and government personnel. This resource was created via a partnership between Tennessee State University (Nashville, Tennessee) and the U.S. Department of Energy.

This interactive website is a one-stop-shop and training portal that houses several environmental and public health-based websites, including:

1) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Environmental Justice Viewer;

2) The National Institute of Health's TOXMAP website;

3) EPA's My Environment website; and

4) The Environmental Defense Fund's Scorecard website.

The online geographic information systems (GIS) mapping tools hosted by many of the new sites offer excellent opportunities for stakeholders to visualize the scope of environmental issues impacting their lives.

Monday, July 18, 2011

NAACP Report on Coal Plants

An NAACP report, Coal Blooded, Putting Profits Over People,” released Friday, lists an Indiana coal-fired power plant as a top-five “environmental justice” offender. The State Line Energy electric generating plant in Hammond, above, was rated as the fifth-worst in the nation. That plant is nearly 150 miles from Fort Wayne, but state and local NAACP officials say its effect reaches beyond northwest Indiana and should concern all Hoosiers, regardless of race. The NAACP report said the power plants are inadequately regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and that their harmful effects are borne disproportionately by people of color and lower incomes. Two of the top three worst offending plants are in Chicago.

The NAACP report, analyzed emissions and demographic factors such as race, income and population density. Those calculations became “environmental justice scores” for America’s 431 coal-fired power plants. In Indiana, in addition to the Hammond plant’s top-five ranking, Duke Energy’s R. Gallagher Generating Station in New Albany ranked seventh and a plant in Michigan City also received a failing grade, according to the report.

The company in May told the Chicago Tribune it plans to close the aging State Line as early as next year and no later than 2014, rather than spend millions to bring it in line with more stringent pollution limits.

Analyzing plants' emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides and demographic factors of where the plants are located, the NAACP said "environmental justice scores" were given for each of the nation's 431 coal-fired power plants. The State Line electric generating plant was rated as the fifth-worst in the nation and the Michigan City Generating Station also received a failing grade.

The ‘Top Twelve EJ Offenders’ Nationwide

Out of the 431 coal-fired power plants that the report examined in this study, the following twelve had the worst environmental justice scores:

1. Crawford Gen. Station, Chicago, IL (Edison International)
2. Hudson Gen. Station, Jersey City, NJ (PSEG)
3. Fisk Gen. Station, Chicago, IL (Edison International)
4. Valley Power Plant, Milwaukee, WI (Wisconsin Energy)
5. State Line Plant, Hammond, IN (Dominion)
6. Lake Shore Plant, Cleveland, OH (FirstEnergy)
7. R. Gallagher Gen. Station, New Albany, IN (Duke Energy)
8. Bridgeport Station, Bridgeport, CT (PSEG)
9. River Rouge Plant, River Rouge, MI (DTE Energy)
10. Cherokee Station, Commerce City, CO (Xcel Energy)
11. Four Corners Plant, NiinahnĂ­zaad, NM (Arizona Public Service Co.)
12. Waukegan Gen. Station, Waukegan, IL (Edison International)

Jacqui Patterson, who coodinated the publication of the report, is director of the NAACP's Environmental and Climate Justice Department. (NWI Times, 7/14/2011, Journal Gazette, 7/16/2011, photo courtesy NWI Times)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

EPA Sued By California Community Groups

Central and Southern California community groups filed a federal lawsuit to force action on a 17-year-old complaint to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about toxic waste dumps. The groups filed a complaint about toxic waste dumps with EPA 17 years ago and never received a response. Tired of waiting, they have filed a federal lawsuit.

Kettleman City, Buttonwillow and rural areas of Imperial County are home to the only toxic waste dumps in the state. Grassroots community groups say that locating the dumps only in low-income and predominantly Latino areas violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits any recipient of federal money from discriminating on the basis of race or national origin.

El Pueblo, along with Padres Hacia una Vida Mejor of Buttonwillow, are asking a judge to order the EPA to act on the complaint, which was filed in 1994 against the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, which issues permits for toxic waste dumps. The community groups say the department, which receives federal funding, must stop the "pattern and practice of racially discriminatory permitting and enforcement of toxic waste laws."

The discriminatory practices began in 1985, after the California Waste Management Board (now CalRecycle) hired a Los Angeles consulting firm, Cerrell Associates, to help identify potential sites for toxic waste facilities. Communities least likely to mount opposition to such sites, according to Cerrell's study, were rural; were made up of poor residents who work in farming or ranching; had little education or involvement in social issues; and were receptive to promises of economic benefits. Since it was written, the Cerrell report has been at the center of controversy over alleged "targeting" based on race and class.

Under the Civil Rights Act, the federally funded Department of Toxic Substances Control should issue permits more equitably. Waste Management Inc., which owns the Kettleman City dump, holds the position that allegations of discrimination are "entirely untrue."

The California complaint is one of 32 pending since the 1990s. Over the years, only one complaint has been resolved, and nearly 100 others were dismissed. (L.A. Times, 7/7/2011)

EPA Proposes Hazardous Waste Recycling Rule

To promote economic, environmental and public health benefits of waste recycling

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing new safeguards for recycling hazardous materials to protect public health and the environment. The proposal modifies EPA’s 2008 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) rule, which revised hazardous waste regulations to encourage recycling of hazardous materials. The proposal will improve accountability and oversight of hazardous materials recycling, while allowing for important flexibilities that will promote its economic and environmental benefits. EPA is opening up this proposal for public comment.

EPA is also releasing for public comment its 355-page draft expanded environmental justice analysis of the 2008 DSW final rule, which evaluates the rule’s potential impact on low-income and minority communities. The analysis acknowledges that while all communities create waste, where the waste ends up is not random and there are some communities that are more likely to be affected by the waste. The 2008 DSW rule disproportionately harmed low-income and minority communities, which are more likely to be near facilities that take advantage of the exemption. No matter what the government wants to label the waste, it is still hazardous and should be subject to stringent oversight. EPA is also requesting public comment on the environmental justice analysis as well as on suggested changes received from peer review. The analysis and peer review comments will be available in the docket for this rulemaking once the proposal is published.

EPA’s re-examination of the 2008 DSW final rule identified areas in the regulations that could be improved to better protect public health and the environment with a particular focus on adjacent communities by ensuring better management of hazardous waste. The proposal includes provisions to address those areas through increased transparency and oversight and accountability for hazardous materials recycling. Facilities that recycle onsite or within the same company under the reduced regulatory requirements retained under the proposal would be subject to enhanced storage and recordkeeping requirements as compared to the 2008 rule. Companies that send their hazardous materials offsite for recycling would have tailored storage standards, while being required to send their materials to a permitted hazardous waste recycling facility. The proposed rule also creates a level playing field by requiring all forms of hazardous waste recycling to meet requirements designed to ensure materials are legitimately recycled and not being disposed of illegally.

EPA will accept comment on this proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The docket for the rulemaking is EPA-HQ-RCRA-2010-0742 and can be accessed at http://www.regulations.gov once the proposal is published. (EPA, NYT, 7/7/2011)

More information about this rulemaking

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Call for Abstracts for Poster Presentations

2011 Environmental Justice Conference: One Community - One Environment

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS); and Greendoor Initiative (Detroit-based organization) are co-sponsoring the 2011 Environmental Justice Conference: One Community – One Environment which will be held on August 23-26, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. They are issuing this call for poster presentations on Environmental Justice.

Abstracts (summaries) of not more than 250 words must be submitted by July 18, 2011.
Environmental Justice Defined: The EPA defines environmental justice as: "The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. Fair treatment means that no group of people, including racial, ethnic, or socio-economic groups should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies."

Based on that definition, your Environmental Justice poster presentation could cover a number of topics including,

Models for effective community engagement and capacity building
Strategies for addressing pollutions sources that impact EJ communities
Workforce development training and job creation
Health disparities
Lead poisoning
Water pollution
Air pollution
Chemical plants
Relocation issues
Improper enforcing of environmental laws
Brownfields in your community
Hazardous waste
Green jobs
Worker training

The topic chosen should relate to the conference theme, One Community – One Environment.

Conference Tracks include:

Models for Effective Community Engagement & Capacity Building
Strategies for Addressing Pollutions Sources that Impact EJ Communities
Environmental Workforce Development Training and Job Creation

For more information on Abstract and Poster requirements

To submit an abstract

For more information about the conference

Individuals with disabilities who need accommodation to participate in this event should contact Sharon D. Beard at voice telephone: 919-541-1863l: . TTY users should contact the Federal TTY Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Requests should be made at least 5 days in advance of the event.

EPA - Community Conference Call

Intended Audience: Environmental Justice and Tribal Communities or Organizations

When: Thursday, June 30, 2011 Time: 2:00pm-3:00pm EST

Conference Line: 1-866-299-3188; code: 919-541-0773#(phone limited to 125 participants on a first-come first-serve basis)

Purpose: To provide more information on upcoming activities in EPA’s Air Programs and foster a dialog with communities on their air quality issues. This call will provide an:

Overview of the Upcoming Air Rule for the Pulp and Paper Industry and other air quality rules

Discussion of the purpose and process for developing the Environmental Justice Community Learning Center

Opportunity for community members to ask questions regarding the topics discussed.

To register for the call/webinar. You Must register 24 hours before the webinar.

For more information about the conference call, contact Lena Epps-Price (919) 541-5573.