Virginia’s Environmental Justice Program
At the direction of the Administration, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has retained a consultant to assist in the development of a comprehensive strategic plan to incorporate Environmental Justice (EJ) into the DEQ’s planning and programs. EPA defines EJ 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.”
The consultant has completed interviews with representatives of local government, communities, industry, and conservation groups as well as DEQ staff. On June 17, 2020, DEQ held a public webinar to provide an overview of the project, discuss views and information from the interviews, and to obtain public feedback on the interview findings. The process will continue with a review of DEQ’s statutory authorities and development of final recommendations. Project completion is anticipated in the fall when it will be reviewed by the administration including the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice. Potential impacts on the regulated community include the likely expansion of permit application review, especially for major projects, and an increase in associated compliance and enforcement activities.
The webinar has been posted on DEQ’s website and can be accessed at: https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/6556207924183726348
Please contact Kim Lanterman at KLanterman@aegisenv.com with questions or to learn about Aegis’ experience with EJ screenings.