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Environmental Management Assistance Program

DEP Enhanced Public Participation Policy

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Pennsylvania DEP recently developed the Environmental Justice Enhanced Public Participation Policy.  This policy was created to ensure that environmental justice communities have the opportunity to participate and be involved in a meaningful manner throughout the permitting process when companies propose permitted facilities in their neighborhood or when existing facilities expand their operations.
For permit applicants, DEP is strongly encouraging applicants to perform community outreach, provide information to the public and local community, schedule pre-application meetings, and meet one-on-one or in a public setting with local & community stakeholders.

So what is Environmental Justice?

Environmental Justice, or EJ, is the idea or principle where communties and populations should not be disproportionally exposed to adverse environmental impacts.  EJ has historically occured in minority or low-income communities where these populations have beared a higher-than-usual proportion of adverse environmental impacts such as poor air quality, contaminated soil, or unhealthy drinking water.

Permit Applicant Checklist

For any small businesses that has a facility or operation within an EJ community, the following list of items are strongly being recommended by Pennsylvania DEP to undertake:
  • Become familiar with the Environmental Justice Enhanced Public Policy.
  • Contact the EJ coordinator in your particular region.
  • Engage the local community early in the process and schedule at least one public meeting.  The EJ coordinator will assist in planning an effective community meeting.
To determine if your small business might be located in an EJ area, Pennsylvania DEP has developed the EJ Areas Viewer at

Contact EMAP to discuss EJ Issues for your Small Business

If your small business has additional questions related to environmental justice and how it may affect your environmental permit application in Pennsylvania, you can speak with one of EMAP’s environmental consultants by contacting our toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP or email us at
Jeremy Hancher is the EMAP Program Manager located at the Widener University SBDC.  He holds over 15 years of experience in environmental compliance, environmental policy, and program management.  He is proud to be the team lead of the award-winning EMAP program which provides free and confidential environmental assistance to the Pennsylvania small business community in fulfillment of the requirements of the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act and Section 507 of the federal Clean Air Act.
In 2015, Jeremy was part of the team effort when EMAP was recognized by US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for Outstanding Accomplishments by a State Small Business Environmental Assistance Provider in Providing Technical Environmental Assistance to the Small Business Community. Jeremy holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a certificate from the Wharton School.