Welcome to the latest e-newsletter of the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). We're sharing helpful information to benefit you and your community. 
Know someone who’d benefit from this information? Please share and invite them to subscribe. Please help us spread the word! 


Public Participation Trigger Permits Are Now up on the DEP Website

Permits that automatically prompt the use of DEP’s Environmental Justice Public Participation Policy, called “trigger permits,” are now on the DEP website. The ‘Pending Trigger Permits’ list shows permits that are currently under review by DEP. The ‘Disposed Trigger Permits’ list shows permits that were subject to the Policy, but are no longer under review because they were approved, denied, or withdrawn. These lists are sorted by DEP region and will be regularly updated. 

Climate Action Plan 2021 Spotlights Equity Issues

Pennsylvania Climate Action Plan 2021 was announced on September 22, 2021 and outlines a pathway to reaching Pennsylvania’s greenhouse gas reduction goals: 26 percent by 2025 and 80 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels.  The plan identifies 18 strategies—in electricity generation, transportation, agriculture, fuel supply, and residential and commercial buildings—that quantitative modeling shows will meet those goals.
For the first time, the climate action plan focuses on environmental justice and equity issues around climate action. To learn more, read the complete plan, or a booklet overview, and watch the Climate Action Plan announcement by the Departments of Environmental Protection, Transportation, Agriculture, and Conservation and Natural Resources.

2022 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence

Do you know of a recent project that has promoted environmental stewardship in Pennsylvania? We want to hear about it. The Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence is open to any Pennsylvania business, farm, government agency, educational institution, non-profit organization and individual that has created, or participated in, the development of a project that promotes environmental stewardship in Pennsylvania.

Applications can be submitted to DEP through December 31, 2021. Learn more and apply.


Photo credit: Rashida Lovely

Rashida Lovely Makes Her Mark on Scranton, PA

Rashida Lovely has lived in Scranton for more than a decade and has brought a wealth of environmental and arts education to the area. She serves as the Director of Operations for the Black Chamber of Commerce and the NEPA Pan African Coalition. A biologist and dancer by training, Rashida is the embodiment of an EJ Champion in that she brings environmental justice and environmental awareness to her community in approachable and creative ways.
What encouraged you to take action in your community?
There’s a gap that needs to be filled. The government plays a role in ensuring that people are aware of best practices to preserve the environment. But communities of color and underserved communities are often missed in the circulation of that information. I like to reach into the community centers and daycare centers – the places where people are.
What are you working on now? Can you tell us about a recent or ongoing project that you are excited about?
I am excited about our Summer STEAM program. It’s an ongoing program where we really encompass the EJ work. Kids learn how to plant and grow foods. And we also work with engineers and scientists in the community as mentors to the kids who participate. Our goal is for the lessons and awareness from the program to become a part of everyday life for the students.
What are the greatest environmental justice challenges that still need to be tackled?
It’s always about the underserved community and connecting with them on their level. We need to support the organizations that are serving people on the ground.
Also important is providing a safe space -- creating spaces in nature where communities of color feel safe even though they don’t own the land. It’s important to the protection of the environment that we create spaces where kids and others can connect to the land.
Is there an EJ champion in your community? Does your community have a success story you would like to share? Email us your story for publication in the next Your Environment, Your Voice newsletter! 


DEP Grants 101 Webinar – As part of our efforts to broaden the diversity of first-time applicants for grant funding, we're offering a live webinar, "DEP Grants 101," on Thursday, December 2 at 11:00 am. Drawing on the feedback many of you provided in our grants outreach survey, "DEP Grants 101" will cover topics helpful to those who've never applied for a DEP grant and may not know that DEP offers funding to help them improve the environment in their community or at their school or place of business. The webinar may also be useful for organizations that have applied for grants but would like a refresher on the basics of grants at DEP. Register here.
DEP Grants – If your environmental improvement project needs funding, DEP can help. We offer 40 grant and rebate programs to support a range of projects to improve or protect the water, land, and air in Pennsylvania. Grant opportunities that are currently open include: 
EPA Updates 
National Environmental Justice Community Engagement Calls (Quarterly)
Join us on these quarterly calls intended to inform the public about EPA’s environmental justice work and creating a space for idea exchange amongst environmental justice organizations. 
EPA Environmental Justice Webpage
EPA’s website for EJ houses a wealth of resources including EJ Screen, EPA’s environmental justice mapping and screening tool.
EPA Report Shows Disproportionate Impacts of Climate Change on Socially Vulnerable Populations in the United States
A new EPA analysis released in September shows that the most severe harms from climate change fall disproportionately upon underserved communities who are least able to prepare for, and recover from, heat waves, poor air quality, flooding, and other impacts.  EPA’s analysis indicates that racial and ethnic minority communities are particularly vulnerable to the greatest impacts of climate change.
EPA’s Environmental Justice & Systemic Racism Speaker Series
The series explores how understanding and addressing systemic racism and the roots of disproportionate environmental and public health impacts is key to integrating EJ in EPA’s policies and programs to achieve environmental protection for all people. View previously recorded sessions here.  


OEJ welcomes your suggestions or inquiries about our work, programs and/or policies. Please contact us at RA-EPOEJ@pa.gov, or directly:
Allison Acevedo
(484) 250-5818
Eastern Region
Justin Dula
(484) 250-5820
Central Region
John Brakeall
(717) 783-9731
Western Region
Ngani Ndimbie
(412) 442-4126
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 400 Market Street Harrisburg, PA 17101 
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