Highlights from the September 27, 2023 A&WMA Environmental Justice Conference at Rutgers, Camden, NJ
On Wednesday, September 27, 2023, the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA) Northern & Central New Jersey chapter held an Environmental Justice (EJ) conference at Rutgers University, School of Business in Camden, NJ. The topic of the conference was Perspectives and Solutions to build a Sustainable Future Together.
To stay in the forefront of evolving EJ regulations and to remain positioned as a compliance advisory for leading companies, Baron Environmental joined the conference, made connections with agency and industry leaders, and is providing the following highlights.
Ms. Olivia Glenn, Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor of Equity for U.S. EPA Region 2, kicked off the panel discussion on EJ trends in Federal and State law. Ms. Glenn described the evolution of Executive Order 14096.
President Biden issued Executive Order (EO) 14096 on April 21, 2023, “Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All.” According to Ms. Glenn, EO 14096 updated President Clinton’s EO 12898 that was issued in 1994.
Ms. Glenn also introduced the group to Justice40, which includes 73 EPA programs. The Justice40 initiative was established in Executive Order 14008. Justice40 requires that a minimum of 40% of the benefits from specific federal programs be directed to disadvantaged communities. EPA has developed an EJ Score Card and EJ Screening and Mapping tools that can be used to look at view socioeconomic indicators.
How does this affect the regulated community?
If a facility is located or proposes to be located in an overburdened community (OBC), permit application(s) will be evaluated based on the following:
1. Identification of environmental and public health stressors.
2. Appropriate geographic point of comparison.
3. Adverse environmental or public health stressors.
4. Whether the overburdened community (OBC) is subject to adverse cumulative stressors.
Mr. Sean Moriarty, Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) gave the keynote address. He made clear the department can deny an air permit application if operations are within one of the 3,500 overburdened communities, and the modification or new equipment will result in an increase in emissions.
According to Deputy Commissioner Moriarty there are a few steps to take to ensure a permit application is approved:
1. Avoid disproportionate impacts. If this is not possible then move to mitigation.
2. Explore what the company can do to improve the impact on the community.
3. Hold meaningful public participation.
4. Conduct public hearings.
5. Within the 60-day public comment period, track and provide a response to every relative comment.
6. Implement specific community outreach for engagement with the community.
7. Analyze stressors and direct source impacts.
8. Look at contributions and take responsibility.
9. Determine what kind of controls can be placed on point sources.
10. Evaluate Localized Impact Control Technology (LICT).
11. Explore the federal and state EJ websites.
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