The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will host six open discussions with community leaders and residents around the state in April to identify the most effective ways to enable Environmental Justice communities to stay safe and thrive in a changing climate. As a result of more than a century of disinvestment, residents in Environmental Justice areas are often challenged by poor air quality, old housing and infrastructure, limited transportation, and other impacts.
“DEP is committed to expanding proactive outreach to better understand communities’ concerns,” said DEP Acting Secretary Rich Negrin. “We’ll draw on this understanding as we develop and implement statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction strategies and fund programs that ensure Environmental Justice communities are centered in climate change mitigation and adaptation statewide.”
The new Climate Action for Environmental Justice Communities program is led by the Energy Programs Office with support from the Environmental Justice Office.
“I want to recognize our Energy Programs Office for coordinating these important events for Environmental Justice communities. My staff and I look forward to attending these events in a listening role, and having the opportunity to meet with stakeholders and community leaders from across the Commonwealth,” said new Special Deputy for Environmental Justice Fernando Treviño.
In-person open discussions will be held across the state. Locally, the discussion will be held April 11, 10:30am at Berks Nature Center, 575 St Bernardine Street, Reading, PA 19607
People can also attend the events virtually and share their views on climate actions needed in their community through online surveys. Event sign-up, the link to the surveys, and more details are found at the Climate Action for Environmental Justice Communities web page.
DEP will incorporate community feedback from the open discussions and surveys in developing a Guide to Climate Action for Environmental Justice Communities. The guide will inform DEP’s statewide climate planning and may be used by other state and local leaders to prioritize the needs of Pennsylvania’s Environmental Justice communities in climate action.
More than 4 million Pennsylvanians live in Environmental Justice communities in urban, rural, and suburban areas statewide.