The Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) has been working to revise the existing
Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy (EJ Policy). The final draft of the updated EJ Policy is ready for formal public comment, and we want your opinion! We have conducted outreach throughout the process to try to ensure that the policy is meeting community needs, but this is the final comment period before the EJ Policy is adopted. The existing EJ Policy from 2004 will remain in effect until the revised policy is adopted.
All DEP (Department) policies are written, nonbinding documents that outline procedures that Department and others may put in place and actions they may take to meet the requirements of an environmental law or outline key practices of an agency or organization. The draft EJ Policy will help guide the Department in integrating EJ into more aspects of the work within regulatory limits. The Department has created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to help folks understand what a DEP Policy is, what the EJ Policy is, the process for revising the EJ Policy, and what to expect based on the Department’s authority.
The draft EJ Policy includes several sections to expand and improve upon the existing Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy which has been in effect since 2004.
General Information section, which includes definitions, history and background, a description of the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ), and the Environmental Justice Advisory Board (EJAB).
2. The second and third sections describe the
Permit Review Process and
Community Input. This is the process around implementing additional public input around particular permits when they are submitted.
Oil and Gas Public Engagement was a major need identified by community members and was included in the fourth section.
Inspections, Compliance, and Enforcement guidance help the policy move beyond public participation in the permitting process and are covered in the fifth section.
6. The sixth section of the policy,
Climate Initiatives, spells out ways that EJ can be included in the climate action plan and other efforts.
Community Development and Investments look to ways to financially assist communities facing environmental justice issues in the seventh section.
8. The eighth section,
Policy Updates, specifies that the policy should be reviewed for updates regularly to ensure that the policy continues to address community concerns.
How can I comment on the EJ Policy?
First, please review the
draft EJ Policy. Then, there are several ways to comment on the EJ Policy and all of them will carry equal weight. Verbal comments will be collected through public hearings and written comments can be sent through the Department’s eComment tool, email, or postal mail. There is no set format for comments, we simply want to hear your feedback.
Verbal Comments at Public Hearings
The Department will hold three virtual public hearings for the purpose of accepting comments on the Draft Environmental Justice Policy. The hearings will be held as follows:
Tuesday, April 5, 2022 at 5 p.m.
- Audio conference: +1-415-655-0003, Access code: 2630 690 8427
Tuesday, April 12, 2022 at 6 p.m.
- Audio conference: +1-415-655-0003, Access code: 2633 346 6724
Thursday, April 28, 2022 from 12 p.m.
- Audio conference: +1-415-655-0003, Access code: 2633 980 7600
Persons wishing to present testimony at a hearing must contact Glenda Davidson for the Department with their name, email address and phone number, and organization (if any), (717) 783-4759 or
RA-EPOEJ@pa.gov, at least 24 hours in advance, to reserve a time to present testimony. Language interpretation services are available upon request. Persons in need of language interpretation services must contact Glenda Davidson at
RA-EPOEJ@pa.gov or at (717) 783-4759 at least 24 hours in advance.
Verbal testimony is limited to 5 minutes for each person. Organizations are limited to designating one person/representative to present testimony on their behalf at one hearing. The hearings will be held through WebEx. People may provide testimony by means of telephone or WebEx teleconference. Video demonstrations and screen sharing by those presenting testimony will not be permitted.
Any members of the public wishing to observe a virtual public hearing without providing testimony are able to view these hearing using the links above. Those who have not registered in advance as described previously will remain muted for the duration of the public hearing.
Persons in need of accommodations as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 should contact the Board at (717) 787-4526 or through the Pennsylvania Hamilton Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 (TDD) or (800) 654-5988 (voice users) to discuss how the Board may accommodate their needs.
For submitting written comments, commenters are encouraged to submit comments using the Department's
online eComment tool or by e-mail to
email@example.com. Written comments may be mailed to the Technical Guidance Coordinator, Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063.
DEP has scheduled six formal public hearings to take place on Friday, March 11, 2022 between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. These meetings will be held in a hybrid format with virtual and in-person participation options. During this time, DEP will receive testimony from interested parties regarding the six drafted regional components of the State Water Plan. The documents being discussed can be found here. The hearing schedule and information on this plan and its progress can be found on the State Water Plan website.
Individuals wishing to provide testimony must contact James Horton, Acting Environmental Group Manager, at RA-StateWaterPlan@pa.gov or 717-783-2285 to register at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. In an effort to hear as many commenters as possible, testimony will be limited to 5 minutes for each person; time may not be shared or relinquished to others. Video demonstrations and screen sharing by testifiers will not be permitted and DEP asks that each organization designate one speaker per group.
All comments, whether delivered orally during the public hearing either orally via Microsoft Teams, in person, or submitted in writing to DEP, carry equal weight and consideration with DEP. Written comments may be submitted between February 15, 2022 and March 3, 2022 and can be sent electronically to RA-StateWaterPlan@pa.gov. Comments received during the published comment period will be acknowledged and discussed during regional committee meetings that will take place in April.
Public Hearings on State Water Plan Regional Components – March 11, 2022
- Event Link
- Audio Conference: +1-267-332-8737
- Access Code: 929 388 580#