Environmental Equity Policy
The mission of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is to protect the public health and welfare and to conserve, improve and protect the natural resources of the state of Connecticut. As trustee of the environment for present and future generations, the Department achieves its mission through its regulation, enforcement and licensing procedures which help control pollution; by managing the state’s parks and forests and other recreational amenities; and by developing and coordinating the state’s environmental plans and educational programs with other public and private agencies. The Department carries out its mission in a way that encourages the social and economic development of the state while preserving the natural environment and the life forms it supports. Fundamental to fair administration of its programs and services is the Department’s effort to reach all segments of the population.
Federal and state environmental laws have accomplished a great deal in the control, reduction and elimination of pollution. However, these same laws have restricted certain types of activities and have designated some areas not suitable for development. These areas tend be the rural towns of the State. Conversely, the evolutionary development of the cities (in terms of infrastructure, transportation, population makeup) has resulted in the state’s manufacturing and industrial base being located primarily in the urban areas, where the greatest concentration of racial and ethnic minority groups and lower income persons reside. The Department recognizes that a higher number of potential sources of pollution in these areas may consequently cause a disproportionate impact on their residents. In light of these facts, and because the Department is committed to enhancing the quality of life for all of its residents, the Department has developed an Environmental Equity Policy.
The policy of this Department is that no segment of the population should, because of its racial or economic makeup, bear a disproportionate share of the risks and consequences of environmental pollution or be denied equal access to environmental benefits. The Department is committed to incorporating environmental equity into its program development and implementation, its policy making and its regulatory activities. The Department proposes the following course of action:
The Department will review and assess the impacts of and opportunities provided by its activities with regard to racial and ethnic minority groups and lower income residents.
The Department will enhance communication with, and improve environmental education opportunities for, minority and lower income communities. The Department will encourage community participation in the Department’s ongoing operations and program development, including but not limited to inclusion on the agency’s advisory boards and commissions, regulatory review panels, and planning and permitting activities.
The Department will foster a heightened awareness of environmental equity issues among its own staff and will provide training on the environmental issues affecting low-income and minority communities. Managers will implement specific environmental equity goals in their respective programs.
The Department will work with other federal, state and municipal agencies and coordinate on environmental equity issues.
The Department will continue to diversify the racial and ethnic makeup of its staff to better reflect and represent the Department’s diverse constituency.
The Department will employ a staff person responsible for ensuring that environmental equity principles are incorporated into all the Department’s policies and programs.
While the environmental accomplishments of the Department have been many, implementation of this Environmental Equity Policy will further the Department’s goals of preserving and enhancing the environment for all of the people of Connecticut.
Policy effective: December 17, 1993
Original document available in the DEEP Environmental Justice Program Office.