The expanded environmental justice policy in PA is to go into effect this month

Shortie

Well-known member
Jul 9, 2023
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If you are someone who is in the process of obtaining a permit for a project in Pennsylvania, you may want to know about the changes that are on the horizon.

The environmental justice policy to foster better communication and protection has been updated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

This is being done to foster better communication and protection for communities disproportionately affected by environmental hazards.

The new policy which is now non-binding will encourage more public participation during the permitting process. This will especially be available to those in low-income communities and to those who are in communities of colour.

It is being said that the DEP will be urged to ensure that these communities are prioritized when it comes to conducting facility inspections and allocating grant funds.

It should also be noted that the policy will introduce the possibility of higher fines for violations in these areas.

This policy is set to take effect from the 16th of September but it will stay open for comments up until the 26th of October.

You can read more regarding this policy here.
 
Location
Pennsylvania, United States
Thanks @Shortie for passing this along. This really speaks to the larger national trend of environmental justice and equity issues being incorporated more and more heavily into government decisions, including permitting. Case in point, earlier this year President Biden signed the executive order, "Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All," that includes several measures aimed at improving how federal agencies consider disproportionate impacts to low-income and other disadvantaged communities as part of their decision-making. It's no surprise to see other states like Pennsylvania acting likewise right now to implement environmental justice policies at the state level.
 
Pennsylvania's updated environmental justice policy is a positive step toward better protection for vulnerable communities. This non-binding policy promotes public participation, prioritizes inspections and grants, and could result in higher fines for violations in these areas. It's a commendable move towards fairness and accountability.
 
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