North Carolina joins growing list of U.S. environmental justice advocates | Goldberg Segarra



At the end of October, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued Executive Order No. 292, appointing the Secretary of Environmental Quality (DEQ)’s Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Committee (EJ Committee) to the Governor’s Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJA Council). ) was reinstalled as , was originally founded by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, who previously served as North Carolina DEQ Administrator.

Additionally, in a “whole-of-government” approach to policymaking, EO 292 directs equity-promoting actions that reflect the needs conveyed by communities that are disproportionately burdened with environmental and public health hazards. , it also directs the Cabinet Office to develop environmental justice targets with measurable outcomes. EO 292 reinforces Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 246 (“Transforming North Carolina to a Clean and Equitable Economy”), issued in January 2022, which states that the state is committed to improving the health of the North. It calls on the government to take various measures related to climate change. Carolina communities are overburdened with environmental hazards.

In addition to re-establishing DEQ’s EJ Commission as the Governor’s EJA Council and directing all aspects of state government to consider environmental justice in policy decisions, EO 292 requires the North Carolina Department of Information Technology to It directs the creation of an “environmental justice hub” that provides: Provide resources and environmental justice mapping tools, and direct the Governor’s EJA Council to work with academics to study cumulative impacts and implement potential solutions to address such impacts. I am giving instructions. EO 292 also defines environmental justice as “policies of government agencies that treat all people fairly, regardless of income, race, color, national origin, or tribal affiliation, and that affect human health and well-being.” It is clearly defined as “meaningful involvement in the development and planning of i) are overburdened by disproportionate negative impacts resulting from “climate change, the cumulative effects of environmental and other burdens, heritage and racism, and other structural or systemic”; protect groups that are barrier”. ii) provide equitable access to a healthy and sustainable living environment;

In a press release announcing EO 292, Dr. James Johnson Jr., chair of the reconstituted EJ Board of Directors, said EO 292 specifically targets North Carolinians of color, who have a disproportionate impact on demographics. He explained that it promotes the health of people and low-wealth North Carolinians. due to pollution, the effects of climate change, and other environmental and land-use hazards. Johnson went on to highlight the potential practical and financial benefits of North Carolina’s latest environmental justice efforts, predicting: Both as a place to live and as a place to do business. ”

By prioritizing environmental justice issues at the state level, North Carolina joins states such as New Jersey (here and here covered by ELM), New York (also covered by ELM), and Maryland, which have enacted environmental justice laws. It joins a growing list of states. At the federal level, Biden has regularly demonstrated a commitment to advancing environmental justice through executive orders (here covered by ELM) and agency decisions and policies (covered by ELM in a variety of contexts, including: As with the administration, it also includes initiatives led by the administration. access to public records, cumulative impact assessments, and the creation of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights).

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