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Office of Environmental Justice

The Office of Environmental Justice was established as a point of contact for Pennsylvania residents in low income areas and areas with a higher number of minorities. Its primary goal is to increase communities' environmental awareness and involvement in the DEP permitting process. To find out more information about permitting actions in your area, sign up for eNOTICE.

Vision of the Office of Environmental Justice

The OEJ is committed to encouraging communication between DEP and communities in Pennsylvania. By building environmentally aware, healthy, and knowledgeable communities, the OEJ can work towards the removal of barriers; stimulate sustainable and environmentally friendly development; and implement policies, regulations, and legislation that provide equal protection to environmental justice communities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Mission Statement

To achieve its vision, the OEJ will identify stakeholders and foster stronger relationships among communities, industry, and DEP in environmental justice (EJ) areas. The OEJ will provide recommendations to DEP's executive staff and the Environmental Justice Advisory Board (EJAB), encourage public involvement, and develop new policies and practices to engage identified stakeholders and those individuals far removed from the decision making process. Additionally, the OEJ will support the department's efforts towards community revitalization and environmentally friendly economic development.

The OEJ Works to:

Promote intra-departmental coordination and collaboration

Educate DEP staff on EJ issues, EJ policy implementation, and the role of the OEJ
Work with other DEP programs to ensure that publications are culturally sensitive and EJ issues are considered in different aspects of the department's day to day operations
Advocate that all DEP policies and regulations are developed with EJ in mind

Foster relationships between DEP and communities

Provide environmental education for communities
Increase awareness of EJ issues throughout the state
Inform viable candidates on grant opportunities
Refer grant applicants to appropriate staff for technical guidance

Work with the EJ Advisory Board and EJ Internal Work Group to achieve OEJ's mission

Recommend the integration of smart growth concepts into redevelopment efforts
Propose and develop regulations positively affecting EJ communities

Encourage interagency coordination (i.e. DCED, DOH, DPW)

Encourage information and data sharing between agencies
Participate in EJ efforts and task forces initiated by other agencies