The environmental justice advisory group (EJAG) advises the MPCA commissioner on the implementation of the agency's environmental justice framework, provides feedback on its effectiveness, and offers suggestions for future improvements. This includes:

  • Providing recommendations to the MPCA commissioner on improvements to policies and procedures to ensure integration of environmental justice principles into the MPCA’s work.
  • Collaborating with the MPCA to improve civic engagement with environmental justice communities and acting as liaisons to strengthen communications and relationships between environmental justice communities and the MPCA.
  • Sharing oral history and community experiences so the agency can better understand the communities they serve and inform community-based solutions.

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The MPCA commissioner selects members with input from a selection committee that includes external stakeholders and current EJAG members. The commissioner will strive to appoint a diverse group of people from various parts of the state, with a variety of backgrounds and skills.

Applications for new membership

We have received over 40 applications from individuals from across Minnesota. We have begun our selection process and will be contacting all applicants by the end of March on the status of their applications.

Current members

Andrea Gierok

Headshot of Andrea Gierok

Andrea Gierok’s interest and focus on environmental justice is rooted in environmental health, health equity, and food security. Gierok currently serves as the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) coordinator and is active in health equity and healthy food access issues in Winona County. She is also an associate professor of public health at Winona State University.

LaShella Sims

Headshot of La Shella Sims

La Shella Sims is a coal miner's daughter from West Virginia and has lived in North Minneapolis for 57 years. She is a lead organizer with the Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing and advises on metro-area projects as a member of the Blue Line Coalition (Blue Line extension light rail transit), the Northside Eco-Harbor Organization (Upper Harbor Terminal project), and the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Sustainable Transportation Advisory Council.

Steve Sternberg

Headshot of Steve Sternberg

Steve Sternberg is an associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. His work focuses on environmental engineering issues, including industrial wastewater pre-treatment, landfill design, groundwater contamination modeling, climate change, air pollution, and environmental justice impacts.