Tuesday, September 8, 2020

DEP EJ News: Addressing Racial Justice & Inclusion At DEP

The latest Environmental Justice newsletter from the Department of Environmental Protection includes a statement by DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell on addressing racial justice and inclusion at DEP--
“As Pennsylvania and the whole country have seen protests demanding an end to systemic racism, we have all been called to action. At DEP and within OEJ, we have been looking at the actions we have taken and considering how we can do more.
“DEP is reaching out to our community stakeholders and partners to affirm that we stand against racism and work to ensure diversity, inclusion and equity in our office and throughout all our work. 
“Our Office of Environmental Justice was founded on principles of equity, inclusion, and justice. Critical connections exist between race, access to information and decision making, poverty, environmental exposure and health outcomes that are exacerbated by environmental injustice and racism. 
“Our work at OEJ and the Department as a whole is dedicated to combating environmental injustice and racism by ensuring we address and implement justice in our practices and policies at DEP, create inclusive environments in our office and through engagement with our partners and in work with other government agencies. 
“We are also developing ways through evaluation of data and cultivation of resources to identify and address environmental conditions that have disproportionately impacted Black communities as well as other communities of color, low income populations and other vulnerable residents. 
“We understand that the language of race and racism is at the core of our work. We are working within DEP and with other Pennsylvania agencies to define environmental justice in a way that speaks to justice and race and racism and incorporates principles of justice and is also meaningful to communities we serve.
“I have affirmed to DEP staff and contractors that the agency is anti-racist and racism will not be tolerated in the department. I have charged all staff with ensuring the work we do on every level considers an environmental justice lens.
“ We have also taken steps to develop a Diversity Committee to address diversity and inclusion and race at DEP. The Office of Environmental Justice plays a key role in these diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and will be active participants on the Diversity Committee.
“I ask that you join us and partner with us as we do our EJ work. We understand experiences in your communities and your work inform and guide the actions that we take around environmental justice. 
“We want to hear from you to learn how we can do this work better and in a tangible way address race and environmental injustice in Pennsylvania.”
DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell 
Other Features
The EJ News also features articles on these topics--
-- PA Climate Action Plan
-- Climate Impacts Assessment
-- Helping Communities Develop Local Climate Action Plans
-- Joining Northeast States To Reduce Carbon Pollution From Power Plants
-- Environmental Education Grants
-- EJ Education and Training
-- Other Resources Too Good Not To Share
Questions should be directed to DEP’s Office of Environmental Justice by sending email to: RA-EPOEJ@pa.gov  or contacting Allison Acevedo, Director, 484-250-5818 or send email to: alacevedo@pa.gov
Related Article:
[Posted: Sept.. 8, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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