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E-M:/ Fw: [epa-ej] NJ Governor Signs Executive Order on Environmental Justice

Enviro-Mich message from "Tom Stephens" <tstephens@sugarlaw.org>

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Environmental Justice EPA" <environmental-justice-epa@epa.gov>
To: "epa-ej" <epa-ej@lists.epa.gov>
Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2004 2:13 PM
Subject: [epa-ej] NJ Governor Signs Executive Order on Environmental Justice

> ***** This is a Listserve at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
> Date: 02/18/04
> From: http://www.state.nj.us/
> February 18, 2004
>  Trenton - Surrounded by community groups and leaders from across the
> state, Governor James E. McGreevey today signed an executive order at
> the Trenton War Memorial calling for state agencies to consider the
> health and environmental impacts of their decision-making on
> communities of color and low-income communities.
>  "As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. declared, `Injustice anywhere is a
> threat to justice everywhere,'" Governor McGreevey said. "In New
> Jersey, we are seeking justice to make every community safe, healthy
> and attractive places in which to raise our families. From the food
> you eat, to the air you breath, to the parks your children play in, we
> are working to build a better New Jersey."
>  Following the Governor's commitment to "Build a Better New Jersey,"
> the executive order confronts many of the environmental health issues
> that the Governor identified in his State of the State address,
> including the impacts of soot, arsenic and mercury on public health.
>  The order calls for the Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP)
> and Transportation (DOT) to develop a coordinated strategy for
> reducing the public's exposure to fine particulate pollution. Several
> recent studies have documented an increase nationwide in the
> prevalence of childhood asthma, especially in Black and
> Latino/Hispanic communities, which is directly linked to exposure to
> fine particles and soot.
>  "This is a commitment to fair government for all people, not just the
> politically connected or the materially comfortable," said DEP
> Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell. "Too many low-income, underserved
> communities of color have suffered from the negative impacts of New
> Jersey's economic and industrial growth, while others have reaped the
> benefits. Our goal is to reduce environmental health risks for
> everyone, but we must be especially mindful of communities that to
> date have been disproportionately and unfairly impacted by pollution."
>  DEP will also be required to use environmental and public health data
> to identify existing and proposed industrial and commercial facilities
> in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods that should be
> targeted for more aggressive compliance, enforcement, remediation and
> permitting strategies to reduce residents' exposure to toxics and
> other pollution.
>  The Governor is also calling for DEP to work with the Department of
> Health and Senior Services (DHSS) to improve multi-lingual
> communications on public health and environmental information to
> ethnic communities. Both departments will have to work on establishing
> comprehensive Spanish-language websites. In recognition of low-income
> communities' greater reliance on subsistence fishing, both agencies
> will also work with the Department of Agriculture to develop
> appropriately protective fish consumption advisories that effectively
> communicate risks and public health information for all of New
> Jersey's communities.
>  "Environmental conditions play a significant role in many human
> diseases and affect the health of all New Jerseyans," said Health and
> Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. "The Department of
> Health and Senior Services enthusiastically supports this important
> Governor's initiative and will work in collaboration with DEP and
> other state agencies to protect the health of our residents and
> especially those most vulnerable to the effects of environmental
> health hazards."
>  The executive order also calls for greater inter-agency cooperation
> to increase community involvement in environmental and public health
> decision-making and to target outreach efforts more effectively to
> communities confronting environmental justice issues. The goal is to
> leverage existing agency resources to create comprehensive, yet
> streamlined reviews of decisions that affect low-income and minority
> communities. The Governor is creating a multi-agency Environmental
> Justice Task Force that will review agency actions to ensure that they
> address environmental justice issues. The Task Force will be composed
> of representatives from the Departments of Human Services, Community
> Affairs (DCA), Education (DOE), Agriculture, DEP, DHSS, and DOT.
>  Groups of residents and workers will be able to file petitions to the
> task force when they believe they are subject to disproportionate,
> adverse exposure to environmental health risks resulting from the
> state's implementation of laws, regulations and programs affecting
> public health, the environment or community development. The Task
> Force will then hold public meetings with affected communities and
> establish an Action Plan to address the situation.
>  "Our fight for environmental justice is about real change and
> improvement in the lives of ordinary people," said Attorney General
> Peter C. Harvey. "The Attorney General's Office and the Department of
> Environmental Protection are already making a difference through our
> joint Environmental Urban Initiative - - investigating and prosecuting
> unscrupulous businesses and individuals who dump debris and hazardous
> materials in disadvantaged communities. We will fight to ensure that
> our urban neighborhoods are not dumping grounds and that their
> residents are not the forgotten New Jerseyans."
>  The Governor is also reconstituting the existing Environmental
> Justice Advisory Council to the DEP to advise the state Task Force.
> This Council is comprised of 15 representatives from grassroots
> groups, community organizations, business and industry, organized
> labor and faith-based groups around New Jersey.
>  The Executive Order takes effect immediately and lasts for at least
> the next five years.
>  A copy is attached. More information on environmental justice can be
> found at http://www.nj.gov/dep/ej/
> - - -
> WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey is committed to ensuring that all of
> its citizens receive equal protection under the law; enjoy a healthy
> environment; and given opportunities for consistent input into
> governmental decision-making; and
> WHEREAS, New Jersey's communities of color and low-income communities
> have historically been located in areas of the State having a higher
> density of known contaminated sites as compared to other communities,
> with the accompanying potential for increased environmental and public
> health impacts; and
> WHEREAS, studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
> (CDC) and other federal agencies have documented that the prevalence
> of childhood asthma is increasing, and that this increase is linked in
> part to poor air quality, and that prevalence is far higher for Black
> and Latino/Hispanic communities; and
> WHEREAS, the Federal government has underscored the importance of
> Environmental Justice in Executive Order 12898 and created the
> National Environmental Justice Advisory Council to integrate
> environmental justice into the Environmental Protection Agency's
> policies, programs, initiatives and activities; and
> WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey is committed to ensuring that
> communities of color and low-income communities are afforded fair
> treatment and meaningful involvement in decision-making regardless of
> race, color, ethnicity, religion, income or education level; and
> WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey is further committed to promoting the
> protection of human health and the environment, empowerment via public
> involvement, and the dissemination of relevant information to inform
> and educate, especially in people of color and low-income communities;
> and
> WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey is committed to enabling our older
> urban and suburban centers to be made more attractive and vital,
> creating a broader range of choices and more livable communities for
> families and businesses in New Jersey, consistent with the State
> Development and Redevelopment Plan and principles of Smart Growth; and
> WHEREAS, the cumulative impact of multiple sources of exposure to
> environmental hazards in low-income and people of color communities,
> and the roles of multiple agencies in addressing the causes and
> factors that compromise environmental health and quality of life in
> these communities require an interagency response; and
> WHEREAS, the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the Department of
> Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Health and Senior
> Services (DHSS), and the Department of Law and Public Safety (DL&PS)
> have entered into collaborative interagency work to address
> environmental health and quality of life issues in communities of
> color and low income, such as in the City of Camden and other urban,
> suburban, and rural communities;
> NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES E. McGREEVEY, Governor of the State of New
> Jersey, by the virtue of the authority vested in me by the
> Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and
> 1. All Executive Branch departments, agencies, boards, commissions and
> other bodies involved in decisions that may affect environmental
> quality and public health shall provide meaningful opportunities for
> involvement to all people regardless of race, color, ethnicity,
> religion, income, or education level. Programs and policies to protect
> and promote protection of human health and the environment shall be
> reviewed periodically to ensure that program implementation and
> dissemination of information meet the needs of low-income and
> communities of color, and seek to address disproportionate exposure to
> environmental hazards.
> 2. DEP and DHSS shall recognize the need to communicate significant
> public health and environmental information in languages other than
> English, by establishing Spanish-language websites.
> 3. The DEP will use available environmental and public health data to
> identify existing and proposed industrial and commercial facilities
> and areas in communities of color and low-income communities for which
> compliance, enforcement, remediation, siting and permitting strategies
> will be targeted to address impacts from these facilities.
> 4. Recognizing that there is greater reliance on subsistence fishing
> among communities of color and low-income communities, DEP, DHSS, and
> the Department of Agriculture, shall work together to develop and
> issue appropriately protective fish consumption advisories and provide
> effective risk communications, education programs and public
> information services with an objective of consistency with neighboring
> states, to the greatest extent possible.
> 5. Recognizing the significant health implications of fine particulate
> pollution, such as premature death and asthma, especially for urban
> communities, DEP and the Department of Transportation (DOT) shall
> develop a coordinated strategy for reducing the public's exposure to
> fine particulate pollution in affected communities, particularly from
> diesel emissions from stationary and mobile sources.
> 6. The Commissioner of DEP and Commissioner of DHSS, or their
> appointed designees, shall convene a multi-agency task force, to be
> named the Environmental Justice Task Force, which will include senior
> management designees, from the Office of Counsel to the Governor, the
> Attorney General's office, the Departments of Environmental
> Protection, Human Services, Community Affairs, Health and Senior
> Services, Agriculture, Transportation, and Education. The Task Force
> shall be an advisory body, the purpose of which is to make
> recommendations to State Agency heads regarding actions to be taken to
> address environmental justice issues consistent with agencies'
> existing statutory and regulatory authority. The Task Force is
> authorized to consult with, and expand its membership to, other State
> agencies as needed to address concerns raised in affected communities.
> 7. The Commissioner of DEP shall reconstitute the existing
> Environmental Justice Advisory Council to the DEP, whose mission shall
> be to make recommendations to the Commissioner and the Environmental
> Justice Task Force in fulfillment of this Executive Order. The
> Advisory Council shall consist of fifteen (15) individuals and shall
> meet quarterly. The Council shall annually select a Chairperson from
> its membership and shall have a minimum composition of one third
> membership from grassroots or faith-based community organizations with
> additional membership to include membership from the following
> communities: academic public health, statewide environmental, civil
> rights and public health organizations; large and small business and
> industry; municipal and county officials, and organized labor.
> 8. Any community may file a petition with the Task Force that asserts
> that residents and workers in the community are subject to
> disproportionate adverse exposure to environmental health risks, or
> disproportionate adverse effects resulting from the implementation of
> laws affecting public health or the environment.
> . . .
> 1. Petitions shall be signed by fifty (50) or more residents or
> workers, provided that at least twenty-five (25) are residents, in the
> affected community;
> 2. The Task Force shall identify a set of communities from the
> petitions filed, based on a selection criteria developed by the Task
> Force, including consideration of state agency resource constraints;
> 3. The Task Force shall meet directly with the selected communities to
> understand their concerns. If desired by any of the selected
> communities, the DEP and DHSS Commissioners shall establish a public
> meeting in which the Environmental Justice Task Force shall hear from
> the petitioners and evaluate the petitioners' claims. Where the
> petitioners assert claims that lie predominantly within the
> jurisdiction of an agency other than the Task Force Chair, the chair
> shall include a senior management representative from the relevant
> agency as a member of the Task Force;
> 4. The Task Force shall develop an Action Plan for each of the
> selected communities after consultation with the citizens, as well as
> local and county government as relevant, that will address
> environmental, social and economic factors that affect their health or
> environment. The Action Plan shall clearly delineate the steps that
> will be taken in each of the selected communities to reduce existing
> environmental burdens and avoid or reduce the imposition of additional
> environmental burdens through allocation of resources, exercise of
> regulatory discretion, and development of new standards and
> protections. The Action Plan, which shall be developed in consultation
> with the Environmental Justice Advisory Council, will specify
> community deliverables, a timeframe for implementation, and the
> justification and availability of financial and other resources to
> implement the Plan within the statutory and regulatory jurisdiction of
> the Departments of the State of New Jersey. The Task Force shall
> present the Action Plan to the relevant Departments, recommending its
> implementation;
> 5. The Task Force shall monitor the implementation of each Action Plan
> in the selected communities, and shall make recommendations to the
> Departments as necessary to facilitate implementation of the Action
> Plans. Departments shall implement the strategy to the fullest extent
> practicable in light of statutory and resource constraints;
> 6. As an integral part of each Action plan, DEP and DHSS shall jointly
> develop a strategy to identify and reduce the most significant
> environmental and public health risks facing each of the selected
> communities through chronic health disease surveillance, health
> monitoring, data gathering, community education and public
> participation;
> 7. The Task Force shall identify and make recommendations concerning
> legislative and regulatory changes appropriate to achieve the purposes
> of this Order as well as the purposes of any particular Action Plan;
> and
> 8. The Task Force shall prepare and publicly release a report
> concerning the status of the Action Plans within eighteen (18) months
> following the establishment of the Task Force.
> 9. All agencies will assist as appropriate in implementing this Order
> and achieving its purposes. The actions mandated as a result of this
> Executive Order shall be accomplished within the bounds of, and
> consistent with, the legislative purpose supporting the relevant
> agency's existing statutory and regulatory authority.
> 10. Nothing in this Executive Order is intended to create a private
> right of action to enforce any provision of this Order or any Action
> Plan developed pursuant to this Order; nor is this Order intended to
> diminish any existing legal rights or remedies.
> 11. This Executive Order shall be in effect for five years from its
> effective date.
> 12. This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.
> * * *
> Contact: Micah Rasmussen, 609-777-2600
> State of New Jersey Governor's Office
> POB 004
> Trenton, NJ 08625
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Tom Stephens
Guild/Sugar Law Center
733 St. Antoine, 3rd Floor
Detroit, Michigan 48226 USA
(313) 962-6540
(Fax) (313) 962-4492

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