HARRISBURG, PA — The Shapiro Administration will adopt an updated Environmental Justice (EJ) Policy, which expands environmental safeguards throughout the Commonwealth, a milestone in updating …
HARRISBURG, PA — The Shapiro Administration will adopt an updated Environmental Justice (EJ) Policy, which expands environmental safeguards throughout the Commonwealth, a milestone in updating a 20-year-old policy the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has used to guide protections for communities most vulnerable to environmental challenges. Environmental justice areas make up 20 percent of the entire Commonwealth.
A public comment period will follow the implementation of the interim final Environmental Justice Policy, which is expected to be implemented on September 16, 2023. This updated policy will usher in deeper advancements for the Commonwealth’s environmental justice communities and is a critical benchmark towards the final EJ Policy, which is expected to be implemented by 2024. Additionally, DEP has developed an improved mapping tool to better identify EJ areas within the Commonwealth and has expanded the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) and elevated its leadership to a more senior position within the DEP for the first time in Pennsylvania history to better serve EJ areas.
The updated EJ policy directs how DEP’s inspection, compliance, and enforcement efforts can better include criteria and concerns of Pennsylvania communities most at risk from pollution and other environmental impacts. Furthermore, the policy outlines the ways in which DEP plans to increase outreach across Pennsylvania and build long-lasting relationships with communities impacted by environmental challenges.
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