The MPCA has released a completed Environmental Justice Framework, the agency’s vision, strategies, and initial implementation actions for integrating environmental justice into agency work. The framework serves as a guide to help ensure pollution does not have a disproportionate, negative impact on any group of people and that all Minnesotans benefit from the agency’s work to protect the environment and human health. The framework outlines specific strategies to help MPCA better connect with people in marginalized groups, including lower income residents, communities of color and people living in areas of environmental concern.
The Environmental Justice Framework is the result of over two years of work with an internal environmental justice steering team, environmental justice advocacy groups, community organizations and Minnesota residents. The framework attempts to address each area of MPCA’s work, including strategies for permitting, monitoring, compliance, remediation, pollution prevention and assistance.
MPCA’s environmental justice policy
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
How will MPCA achieve environmental justice?
The MPCA aims to achieve environmental justice statewide by implementing strategies designed to remedy past harm and prevent future harm and focusing on two key areas:
- Identifying areas where low-income Minnesotans, people of color, and others may be experiencing more harm or are more susceptible to environmental conditions as areas of focus for environmental justice action
- Modifying our approach and increasing our work in order to address environmental justice issues
The MPCA’s renewed commitment to environmental justice involves coordination with federal, state, local, and tribal governments to protect the environment of Minnesota. There will also be continued collaboration with environmental advocacy organizations to ensure the principles of environmental justice are adequately embedded in agency work.
To stay connected to the environmental justice conversation, read about MPCA and environmental justice on our website, sign up for MPCA’s Environmental Justice Issues newsletter, or contact Ned Brooks, MPCA’s Environmental Justice Coordinator at 651-757-2557.