Monday, March 14, 2011

White House Environmental Justice Gathering - December, 2010

In December 2010, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice was invited to attend the historic White House Environmental Justice Gathering.

This event was in response to the Administration's commitment to enforce Executive Order 12898, which charged all federal agencies with making the achievement of environmental justice part of its mission by "identifying and addressing as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority and low income populations" (EPA). The EO established the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on environmental justice, which is made up of 12 federal agencies and chaired by the EPA.

The White House invited over 100 environmental justice leaders from across the country to hear from several cabinet secretaries and to share our testimonies and suggestions about how to involve federal agencies in resolving environmental justice issues.

There were a series of topics that were covered including: Green Jobs, Clean Energy; Legal Framework for Advancing Environmental Justice; Healthy Communities and Climate Adaptation. Many of the federal agencies were enlightened about the diverse environmental hazards confronting low-income and minority communities throughout the country.

Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice is committed to working very closely with other environmental justice leaders to make sure that the White House and designated federal agencies are responsive to the myriad of issues that were raised during the Gathering.

We will also engage the White House and federal agencies in strategic discussions about advancing environmental justice through legislation, strengthening green job opportunities in urban communities, as well as mitigating climate change.

- By Kimberly Hill

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