Environmental Justice in Maryland
Commission of Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities (CEJSC)
The Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities was previously established by Executive Order on January 1, 2001 and statutorily signed into law on May 22, 2003. The Commission examines environmental justice and community sustainability issues that may be associated with creating healthy, safe, economically vibrant, environmentally sound communities for all Marylanders in a manner that allows for democratic processes and community involvement. Maryland’s approach to Environmental Justice (E.J.) is consistent with the approach advocated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA calls for States to address Environmental Justice issues as appropriate and for improvements in efficiency and sustainability in the use of resources and production processes. EPA defines E.J. 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.” Fair treatment means that no group of people including a racial, ethnic, or socio-economic 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.
Additionally, Maryland’s definition, which builds on EPA’s definition, specifically notes that all citizens of the State should expect (1) to be protected from public health hazards and (2) to have access to the socio-economic resources necessary to address concerns about their livelihood and health.
> CEJSC membership, meeting notes, announcements, etc.
Environmental Benefits Districts
The EBD program was designed as a means to concentrate state resources to enhance the quality of life in communities through a new vision of environmental protection and business development
A district can be a single town, several communities or a region (of a county for instance). The EBD initiative was developed by MDE to foster sound environmental practices, healthy and safe communities, and proactive economic development for all Marylanders. Using existing programs and resources, MDE can potentially provide financial, technical, regulatory, administrative, and policy resources.to foster sound environmental practices, healthy and safe communities, and proactive economic development.
In 2003, areas of Prince George’s County and East Baltimore were designated as EBDs. Easton and South Baltimore followed in early 2006.
> Related Press Release - 02/07/2006
> Related Press Release - 02/07/2006
> Related Press Release - 01/09/2004
> Related Press Release - 11/06/2003
As of October 2009, the EBD Program is undergoing review and is not accepting any new applications for designation.
Environmental Justice Public Dialogues
The Maryland Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities (CEJSC), the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) convened a series of public dialogues on issues related to environmental justice and sustainable communities (termed, "Environmental Equity" or "EE" dialogues). The purpose of these EE dialogues was to provide a forum for citizens, community organizations, neighborhood groups, and local leaders to provide advice and direction to various levels of government on environmental policies and processes that may have an impact on minority and/or low income families and other affected communities throughout Maryland. From these EE dialogues, the CEJSC, MDE, and EPA have identified some critical environmental issues facing local communities and best practices for incorporating these concerns into state agency decision-making. The dialogues were also used to gather feedback on several recommendations made by MDE, EPA, and CEJSC. For additional information concerning the final EE Dialogues report, please contact MDE at (410) 537-3086.
> Public Dialogues Executive Summary
If you have any environmental justice concerns, questions or need to report an environmental justice issue, please contact MDE through any one of the following:
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