Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Liebert Online Environmental Justice Volume

Liebert Online

Environmental Justice Volume: 4, Number: 3 September 2011

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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, 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.