MPCA and environmental justice
All Minnesotans deserve to live in conditions that support a healthy and fulfilling life. One important part of this is living in an environment with clean air, clean water, and unpolluted land.
Working to achieve this is at the heart of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s mission to protect and improve our environment and enhance human health.
The MPCA is committed to making sure that pollution does not have a disproportionate impact on any group of people —the principle of environmental justice. This means that all people – regardless of their race, color, national origin or income – benefit from equal levels of environmental protection and have opportunities to participate in decisions that may affect their environment or health.
The MPCA's plan for Environmental Justice — Thanks for your comments
The MPCA’s Environmental Justice Framework: Our draft plan to integrate environmental justice into all MPCA programs during the next three to four years to reach our goals of reducing pollution, increasing livability, remedying past harm and preventing future harm in historically overburdened communities.
Thanks to everyone who attended a meeting or submitted comments in June and July. We are now revising the draft framework to reflect comments received.
Check back here for revised version of the framework and a summary of the comments.
MPCA's environmental justice policy
The MPCA’s policy states:
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) will, within its authority, strive for 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.
Fair treatment means that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies
Meaningful involvement means that:
- People have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health;
- The public’s contribution can influence the regulatory agency’s decision;
- Their concerns will be considered in the decision making process; and
- The decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected
The above concept is embraced as the understanding of environmental justice by the MPCA.
- MPCA Environmental Justice Policy
- MPCA-EPA 2013-2016 Joint EJ Priority
- MPCA Commissioner letter to Environmental Justice stakeholders
- Notice of Nondiscrimination
- Grievance Procedures Related to Civil Rights
For questions or comments about MPCA’s environmental justice activities, contact:
- Ned Brooks, MPCA Environmental Justice Coordinator, 651-757-2557
MPCA staff work to establish and maintain relationships with 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:
- Alliance for Metropolitan Stability
- Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota
- Land Stewardship Project
- North American Water Office
- Sierra Club — Minnesota North Star Chapter
- Women's Environmental Institute
- Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy
- Neighborhoods Organizing for Change
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).
- What’s in My Neighborhood? is a 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.
- 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.
- Risk assessment (MDH) 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.
Minnesota State Demographic Center within the state Department of Administration analyzes and distributes data from state, Census Bureau, and other sources.
- Environmental justice (U.S. EPA) The Environmental Protection Agency supports the principles of environmental justice: 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.
- EJSCREEN (U.S. EPA) Uses high-resolution maps combined with demographic and environmental data to identify places with potentially higher environmental burdens and vulnerable populations. EJSCREEN's color-coded maps, bar charts, and reports enable users to better understand areas in need of increased environmental protection, health care access, housing, infrastructure improvement, community revitalization, and climate resilience.
- EnviroMapper for Envirofacts (U.S. EPA) 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.
- MyEnvironment search (U.S. EPA) The MyEnvironment search application is designed to provide a cross-section of environmental information based on the user's location.
- NATA | National Air Toxics Assessment (U.S. EPA) U.S. EPA's ongoing comprehensive evaluation of air toxics. The NATA was developed as a state-of-the-science screening tool to help prioritize pollutants, emission sources and locations of interest for further study in order to gain a better understanding of risks.