Anyone who wants to get a permit to build or expand a facility within a designated Environmental Justice Community must first get approval on a plan for engaging the public in this process — before they can even file their permit application. This requirement ensures that affected stakeholders have an opportunity to share their input before any projects that have the potential to impact the environment move forward.

What Is an Environmental Justice Community?

In CT, an environmental justice community is defined by the Connecticut General Statutes as: 
  • a distressed municipality, as designated by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development; OR
  • defined census block groups where 30% of the population is living below 200% of the federal poverty level.

Note: A distressed municipality, as designated by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, includes municipalities that no longer meet the threshold requirements but are still in a 5-year grace period. (See definition at CGS Sec. 32-9p(b).) Fitting into that grace period, ten towns continue to be eligible for distressed municipality benefits because they dropped off the list within the last five years. Those are Enfield, Killingly, Naugatuck, New Haven, Preston, Stratford, Bristol, Groton, North Stonington, and Plainfield.
Learn more about other definitions of EJ communities.

You can review this map for the 2023 Environmental Justice Census Block Groups here. This map also includes the 2023 list of distressed municipalities referenced above.

For detailed instructions on how to use and navigate this map, please view the video tutorial here.


What Is an Applicable Facility Affected by These Rules?

Facilities that are subject to these environmental justice engagement plans are known as “affecting facilities” (see section 22a-20a of the Connecticut General Statutes (CGS), also known as the state's Environmental Justice Law). To be categorized as an affecting facility, they need to fall under at least one of these categories:
  1. electric-generating facility with a capacity of more than 10 megawatts;
  2. sludge or solid waste incinerator or combustor;
  3. sewage treatment plant with a capacity of more than 50 million gallons per day;
  4. intermediate processing center, volume reduction facility, or multi-town recycling facility with a combined monthly volume in excess of 25 tons;
  5. new or expanded landfill, including, but not limited to, a landfill that contains ash, construction, and demolition debris or solid waste;
  6. medical waste incinerator; or
  7. major source of air pollution, as defined by the federal Clean Air Act.
CGS Section 22a-20a states that for any application for an affecting facility that constitutes a new or expanded permit, and that is located/proposed to be located in an EJ community, the applicant shall enter into a community environmental benefit agreement with the municipality if there are five or more affecting facilities in such municipality at the time the application is filed.



EJ affecting facilities map
This map displays the affecting facilities in environmental justice communities and towns that contain EJ communities as census block groups. 




Additional Resources

If you need to create or file an Environmental Justice Community Engagement Plan, here are a few resources you may find helpful:

Ways to Connect

  • For environmental justice administrative inquiries, please contact Edith Pestana (Program Administrator) at (860) 424-3044 or
  • For community and education coordination inquiries, please contact Doris Johnson (Outreach & Education Coordinator) at (860) 424-3053 or