Listening sessions on Environmental Justice
I have reached out to each you because you all are working with environmental justice communities in southwestern PA. The DEP is going to be traveling across the state and holding listening sessions on Environmental Justice. They will be soliciting input on the following questions:
What environmental justice concerns are most pressing in your community?
Do you feel that the current definition of an environmental justice community (20% poverty and/or 30% minority) properly represents the needs of your community and the Commonwealth at large?
Do you feel the DEP is engaged with marginalized communities to ensure that they have a voice in the decision making process? How can the DEP be more engaged with these communities?
What tools have you used to find out information on DEP permitting/enforcement actions
What ways can the DEP be more effective at sharing information with the public?
How can the DEP be more effective at receiving public input?
What resource(s) is your community lacking that the DEP can provide that would assist in efforts to ensure environmental equity?
What additional steps can be taken by the Department to effectively reach out to these vulnerable communities to ensure that their concerns are taken into consideration?
CCJ published a report called Community Indicators of Environmental Justice, that addressed many of these questions and have been pushing the department to expand its view on environmental justice ever since.
There will be a meeting on Wednesday, April 12 from 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM at the Margaret Bell Miller Middle School in Waynesburg, PA and Thursday, April 13 from 4 PM to 6 PM at the Hill House Association, Pittsburgh, PA. This gives us a little under two weeks notice (real nice of them I know) and the times of day are not great but better than daytime hours. It is crucial that we get folks out to these meetings to show the demand and need to improve PA current environmental justice process.
Please let me know if you are interested in helping to organize for these and create resources for people to use in commenting. Also if you are able join a call on Tuesday 3 PM (712-775-7031 code: 297-294-614) to discuss this further. Please invite others that are interested too.
Here is the locations of other meetings: http://www.dep.pa.gov/PublicParticipation/Officeof...
The press release: http://www.ahs.dep.pa.gov/NewsRoomPublic/articlevi...
It should get noticed in the bulletin this weekend.
Center for Coalfield Justice
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