MPCA and Environmental Justice
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is firmly committed to the principles of Environmental Justice.
Environmental Justice is an organizational principle regarding the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of disadvantaged communities. As such, Environmental Justice is not a program but a way of doing business for the MPCA.
In the course of implementing Environmental Justice, the MPCA will seek open lines of communication from Environmental Justice communities.
It is expected that how we incorporate Environmental Justice into agency work will evolve over time to ensure the agency makes the most of limited resources.
Quarterly communications were started in the third quarter of 2007 to inform individuals/organizations about ongoing MPCA Environmental Justice activities. With the launching of this web page, the quarterly communications have ended. MPCA will still maintain a list of email contacts for individuals interested in receiving occasional items of interest. Requests to be added to the email contact list should be routed to the listed MPCA contact.
The U.S. EPA defines Environmental Justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. The MPCA agrees with the basic principles of this statement and believes that implementing these principles is part of good governance.
Fair treatment means that no group of people, including a racial, ethnic or a socioeconomic group, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies.
Meaningful involvement means that:
- potentially affected community residents have an appropriate opportunity to participate in decisions about a proposed activity that will affect their environment and/or health;
- the public's contribution can influence the regulatory agency's decision;
- the concerns of all participants involved will be considered in the decision making process; and
- the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.
- MPCA Environmental Justice Policy
- Environmental Justice Strategies and Implementation
- Notice of Nondiscrimination
- Grievance Procedures Related to Civil Rights
For questions or comments about MPCA’s Environmental Justice activities, contact:
MPCA staff work to establish and maintain relationships with nongovernmental organizations and community groups. If you wish to be added or removed from the list, please send your request to the listed MPCA Environmental Justice contact.
The following environmental organizations are involved in Environmental Equity:
- 1000 Friends of MN
- Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
- American P.I.E.
- Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota
- Fresh Energy
- Green Institute
- Land Stewardship Project
- North American Water Office
- Sierra Club — Minnesota North Star Chapter
- Women's Environmental Institute
- Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy
MPCA staff assist the agency's Tribal Liaison with maintaining current information on tribal contacts for receiving air and water permit notices (per the established MPCA Guidance on Air Quality Permit Consultation with Indian Tribal Governments).
- Air Emissions Risk Analysis (AERA)
- Environmental Data Access (EDA) : Web-based mapping and text-based search tools featuring a wide range of viewable and downloadable statewide water quality data and air quality data; groundwater data to be added to the site in 2005.
- What’s in My Neighborhood?: Web-based mapping and text-based search tools containing information on soil and groundwater contamination sites within the state; includes properties that have been investigated and cleaned up as well as properties that are currently enrolled in MPCA cleanup programs.
- MPCA and University of Minnesota Personal Exposure Study : A study of personal exposure of individuals to hazardous air pollutants in three Twin Cities area communities, conducted in conjunction with University of Minnesota researchers. Additional information is available in the MPCA Environmental Bulletin, August 2003 .
- Risk Assessment website : Contains information on the human health effects of exposures to hazardous chemicals and other substances, including information on air and groundwater contaminants, risks in homes and schools, fish advisories, and children’s environmental health. Provides information on ways to prevent and reduce exposures to environmental health hazards.
- The State Demographic Center within the Minnesota Department of Administration analyzes and distributes data from state, Census Bureau, and other sources.
- Environmental Justice (EJ) Graphic Assessment Tool. EPA’s EJ Graphic Assessment Tool can be used to map EPA environmental data in relation to available demographic data (e.g., population density, percent minority population).
- EnviroMapper. EnviroMapper is a powerful tool used to map various types of environmental information, including air releases, drinking water, toxic releases, hazardous wastes, water discharge permits, and Superfund sites. Users can select a geographic area within EnviroMapper and view the different facilities that are present within that area. EnviroMapper can be used to create maps at the national, state, and county levels, and link them to environmental text reports. Users can even insert dynamically created maps in their own Web pages.
- Window to My Environment. WME is a powerful web-based tool that provides a wide range of Federal, state, and local information about environmental conditions and features in a specific area. This Internet tool is provided by EPA in partnership with Federal, state and local government and other organizations.
- EPA’s National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) : a national-scale study that looks at 32 air toxic pollutants, plus diesel particulate matter (i.e. diesel exhaust), that EPA identified as potentially posing the greatest threat to public health in the largest number of urban areas; includes an inventory of air toxics emissions from outdoor sources and estimates of ambient air concentrations, exposures, and potential public health risks.
- EPA’s Environmental Justice website