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E-M:/ RE: / Governor Granholm signs Environmental Justice Executive Directive



Title: RE: / Governor Granholm signs Environmental Justice Executive Directive

Many individuals and 35 organizations worked hard for almost three years to achieve this outcome. I cannot name them all, but want to also recognize Donele Wilkins and Guy Williams of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Michelle Lin (formerly with ACCESS), Brad Van Guilder of the Ecology Center, Diana Seales at East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Roshani Deraniyagle-Dantas, and Pamela Smith for their hard work!  Staff at the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Services played an important role formulating the Campaign’s recommendations for the executive directive.

It really is an important step for Michigan to recognize environmental justice as part of its overall commitment to protecting the environment! We hope and trust that this is just the first step towards reducing environmental impacts for vulnerable communities, and look forward to working with the Granholm administration to seeing this directive implemented.

Kathryn Savoie, Ph.D.

Environmental Program Director

Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)

6450 Maple Street

Dearborn MI 48126

(313) 216-2225

ksavoie@accesscommunity.org

www.accessccommunity.org

For Immediate Release:

November 28, 2007

Contact:

Kathryn Savoie, 313-216-2225

Guy Williams, 734- 395-9836

Governor Granholm’s environmental justice directive earns praise from environmental leaders and community activists

Governor Jennifer Granholm’s signing of an executive order promoting environmental justice drew praise today from the Campaign for State Action on Environmental Justice and its endorsers.

This action directs the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to develop and implement a plan promoting environmental justice in Michigan.  With this move, Michigan joins states such as New York, New Mexico and California that have similar guidance in place. 

“Environmental justice is about protecting all communities from environmental harm, regardless of race, religion, or national origin. We see this executive directive as a tremendous step forward in protecting environmental quality and civil rights in Michigan, and we applaud Governor Granholm for taking this positive step,” said Kathryn Savoie, Environmental Program Director at the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), a member of the CSAEJ.

The Campaign for State Action on Environmental Justice kicked off in January 2005 with a packed town hall meeting in Detroit. Communities in Saginaw, Lansing and Grand Rapids also held events and rallies in support of the campaign. Thousands of individuals sent postcards to Governor Granholm in support of the goals of the campaign, which was endorsed by 35 organizations.

Several members of the campaign worked with the MDEQ Environmental Advisory Committee in a 10-month process to craft recommendations that were forwarded to the Governor for executive action in February 2006.

The purpose of the directive is to protect against disproportionate burdens of pollution in communities of color, and ensure equal protection under the law.  State departments and agencies are directed to identify and address discriminatory public health or environmental effects of state laws, regulations, policies, and activities on Michigan residents. 

Studies consistently show that low-income communities and communities of color bear a disproportionate burden of pollution and the health effects that it inflicts. The result is greater rates of childhood asthma, lead poisoning, cancer and myriad other problems in these populations.

“This is a great day for the state of Michigan”, says Donele Wilkins, Executive Director of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice. “This new directive will help support better teamwork across agencies at the state level, and produce a safer and healthier environment for communities that are suffering from undue environmental burdens.”

Participating organizations include: Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Ecology Center, East Michigan Environmental Action Council, Clean Water Action, and Sierra Club.



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Kathryn Savoie, Ph.D.

Environmental Program Director

Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)

6450 Maple Street

Dearborn MI 48126

(313) 216-2225

ksavoie@accesscommunity.org

www.accessccommunity.org