Since its inception, the Moving Forward Network (MFN) has worked to advance environmental justice as a priority within the EPA and other agencies. Thanks to the hard work of the network and its members to bring together community organizing, media, and science, we have seen some great advances by the EPA, including a stated intent in the EJ 2020 plan and elsewhere to reduce goods movement air pollution and improve public health in overburdened communities.
Among the initiatives in which our members are involved is a project by the EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality (OTAQ) to develop a series of guides intended to help port communities build capacity and for ports and port communities to engage and reduce air pollution – the Ports Primer, Community Action Roadmap, and Environmental Justice Primer.
The guides are now in draft, and the EPA has selected three organizations or partnerships with which to test and refine the guides, enhance community skills, develop action plans, and address community needs. Among those selected is an MFN member, Harambee House, Inc. of Savannah, Georgia.
The MFN and its members have been effective in moving the agency when we organize, and are willing to collaborate and work with the EPA when it furthers our agenda of protecting overburdened communities.
To review the draft guides and learn more about these projects, see the following, received last week from the EPA:
Support for Near-Port Communities and Port/Port Authorities: Environmental Justice Action
Pilot Projects Selected for Near-Port Communities and Ports/Port Authorities
More than twenty near-port communities and ports submitted applications for consideration to be among the first in a series of pilot projects utilizing the capacity building tools recently developed by EPA in collaboration with key stakeholders. EPA is pleased to announce the location for our initial pilot projects: Savannah, GA; New Orleans, LA; and Seattle, WA.
Congratulations to following applicants from the locations noted above.
Harambee House, Inc. (Savannah)
Port of New Orleans, in collaboration with Lower 9th Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement and Development, and with Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (New Orleans)
Port of Seattle and Just Health Action (Seattle)
EPA’s Near-port Community Capacity Building Project supports the goals to improve environmental and public health outcomes for communities affected by ports and associated goods movement facilities, and to improve environmental performance at ports with emphasis on enhancing efficiency and resiliency of port infrastructure. This project also supports success in partnership building by equipping industry and community stakeholders with information, skills and guidance to effectively develop and implement collaborative actions leading to shared prosperity and better quality of life conditions.
The level of interest by both near-port communities and ports in participating in our Pilot Project Opportunity underscores the need for stakeholder engagement strategies, capacity building tools, and guidance to develop collaborative solutions for addressing goods movement challenges. The number of quality applications which merit participation exceeds the scope for our initial selections. However, additional pilot projects are planned and we invite applicants to remain engaged by frequenting this website and by utilizing the available draft tools and resources.
Draft Ports Primer for Communities: An Overview of Ports Planning and Operations to Support Community Participation. An interactive tool and reference document that characterizes the port industry sector including environmental and community health impacts associated with port activities.
Draft Community Action Roadmap: Empowering Near-Port Communities. An implementation companion for the Ports Primer for Communities that provides a step-by-step process for building capacity and preparing community stakeholders.
Draft Environmental Justice (EJ) Primer for Ports: The Good Neighbor Guide to Building Partnerships and Social Equity with Communities. Designed to inform the port industry sector of the perspectives, priorities, and challenges often unique to communities with EJ concerns. In addition to orienting the port sector about EJ considerations, this resource is structured to provide step-by-step guidance to improve the effectiveness of port and community engagement in addressing concerns of impacted residential communities.