Environmental Justice Policy Revision
The Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) is working to revise the existing Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy (EJ Policy). The Department is focused on incorporating a community engagement process to ensure inclusive community voice around its creation. Our office would like to hear and consider feedback from environmental justice stakeholders across the Commonwealth as we move forward to develop a revised EJ Policy. Click through below to explore the timeline and key elements of the process or view this timeline as a PDF.
Timeline and Key Elements
Expand AllClick here for a more accessible version
- Inform internal and external partners about withdrawal of policy and planning for EJ Policy Development and Implementation
- Draft plan and timetable for outreach and get initial feedback on outreach from internal and external partners
- Consider development of EJ Policy Advisory Group
- Identify internal (DEP and state agency) partners for feedback on EJ Policy and outreach process
- Develop outreach questions, survey and strategy
- EJAB, EJ Stakeholders and other external engagement
- Present draft of EJ Policy for internal review and input
- EJAB Comments on Policy
- Public Comment: July – August 2021
- Comment and response document preparation
- Internal review
- Finalize EJ Policy
- Staff and state agency training on EJ Policy
- EJAB overview of EJ Policy
- Community Engagement about EJ Policy
The new updated Policy is proposed to include: revised EJ areas/population definition; interagency collaboration and EJ planning; EJ mapping, resource and data development; grantmaking practices around EJ; translation processes; and EJ training for Department staff and external partners. The existing EJ Policy from 2004 will remain in effect until the revised policy is created.
We will add more information about the revisions and ways to engage as the process moves forward. Please contact our office with any questions. Sign up for the OEJ newsletter to stay involved in the update process.
Previous Revision Efforts
The Department conducted a process of revising the EJ Policy that was released for public comment in 2018. The Policy focused on enhancing public participation during permit reviews for specific trigger permits that warranted additional public input and engagement in specific geographic areas, known as EJ areas. The draft Policy included several revisions and updates but continued to focus solely on public engagement in the permit review process.
Comments received during the public comment period suggested that the Policy extend beyond enhancing public outreach and engagement during the permit review process. After reviewing all comments received, the Department decided in October 2020 to withdraw the draft 2018 EJ Public Participation Policy to develop a Policy that will focus public participation but also on integrating EJ into other Department practices and policies.