DEP Enhanced Public Participation Policy
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 ChecklistFor 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.