Environmental Justice Initiatives and Achievements
National EJ Program Integration Activities – The Agency, through the leadership of the EJ Executive Steering Committee and OECA/OEJ, continues its efforts to comprehensively incorporate EJ considerations into EPA’s programs, policies and activities.
The following major initiatives and activities support EJ Integration. These efforts represent a significant undertaking and will not be successful without the support and involvement of all parts of the Agency, including the Regions.
NEJAC http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/nejac/subcommittees.htm The NEJAC is currently focusing on the intergration of EJ into the Agency's programs, policies and activities.
Emory’s 7th Annual Green Networking and Key Note, Gwen Keyes Fleming
On November 20, 2014, Emory University held its 7th annual Green Networking Night. Gwen Keys Fleming, EPA's Headquarter's Chief of Staff, gave a presentation at the pre-event and was Key Note speaker during the evening event. Gwen shared information with the students about EPA, its mission and highlighted our work in Environmental Justice and how the Administrator is paying close attention to Climate impacts to vulnerable populations. One of the highlights of Gwen presentation was the Administrator McCarthy’s most recent visit to China concerning their smog pollution issue. Gwen shared pictures of the smog in China and how EPA gathered PM 2.5 particulate data from the Embassy compound located in China. She further shared how Pollutants such as particle pollution are linked to a number of significant health effects -- and those effects are likely to be more severe for sensitive populations, including people with heart or lung disease, children, and older adults. After the morning session, Emory hosted its 7th Annual Networking event. The evening networking event was not a career fair but instead a chance to mix and mingle with Atlanta's green professionals in areas such as media, business, health, government, transportation, conservation, consulting, advocacy, education, law, and politics. The Office of Environmental Justice and Sustainability represented the early evening session and Brownfields staff represented the late evening networking event.
Proctor Creek Community Strategy Session
On November 6, 2014, Office of Environmental Justice and Sustainability hosted a 1-day Proctor Creek Strategy workshop. The workshop was put together in response to community leaders request to strengthen communications in the Proctor Creek Watershed. There were 53 participants who attended the meeting alongside a Region 7 facilitator and Brownfields and Water Protection Division staff.
The meeting was a valuable opportunity for residents, non-profits, academic institutions, government representatives, and other leaders to share information and engage in an important conversation on how to strengthen coordination and communication in Proctor Creek. Preliminary action items include, 1) The continued strengthening of the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council's capacity to serve as the “community voice” for Proctor Creek and 2) Working towards the establishment of some form of a “steering committee” whose focus is to strengthen communication and coordination among the public, private, non-profit, and resident representatives.
One of the responsibilities of this steering committee will be to help identify resources for the Proctor Creek Stewardship Council to conduct community engagement. Other highlights from the meeting included the sharing of two Proctor Creek websites that have been created: The Proctor Creek Stewardship Council website (http://www.proctorcreek.org) and the "About Proctor Creek" (http://aboutproctorcreek.info) website. There is still more building that needs to occur and many details to discuss moving forward, but this strategy session is the first steps towards strengthening communication in Proctor Creek.Next steps include the EPA planning team pulling together the information that was produced on the flip charts at the meeting, and sending out the meeting proceedings within the next month.
South Carolina – Leaders in Environmental Action Pilots (LEAP)
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) implemented the “Leaders in Environmental Action” (LEAP) pilot program with support from EPA’s State EJ Cooperative Agreement program. It used collaborative problem-solving approaches to address the environmental and social justice concerns in four communities. As a result of the pilots, the Blackmon Road community, in Rock Hill, obtained a comprehensive water infrastructure study and participated in community development training. The community in Aiken County participated in training under the Superfund Job Training Initiative and organized the SC Environmental Justice Coalition to address EJ concerns in the state of South Carolina. The mill town communities of Graniteville, Warrenville, and Vaucluse participated in a lung function study for the 650 workers injured as a result of a chorine release from a 2005 train derailment. This study was conducted under a National Institute of Health grant. In addition, the community held vision sessions in preparation for upcoming brownfields assessments. The North Charleston communities continue to address issues related to expansion of the Port of Charleston, building on the community mitigation plan they achieved under the National Environmental Policy Act and also participated in training for their Board. The SC DHEC was able to provide significant assistance to all four pilot communities, and in doing so brought together a number of state organizations that can now continue assisting these communities toward their individual goals. A workbook and DVD to assist communities with similar issues has been developed.
Pollution Prevention (P2) and Innovation