Environmental justice leader Charles Lee honored by the State of South Carolina

Charles Lee small photoEnvironmental Justice leader Charles Lee was honored by the State of South Carolina House of Representatives on the occasion of his Keynote address at Building the Bridge to Environmental Equity: Lessons from Two Decades of Partnership, sponsored by the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

The House Resolution honoring Mr. Lee included an excellent summary of his impressive accomplishments:

 

House Bill 3732

A HOUSE RESOLUTION TO RECOGNIZE AND HONOR CHARLES LEE, THE SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AT THE UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA), AND TO WELCOME HIM TO THE PALMETTO STATE AS THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SERVICES SEMINAR.

Whereas, the South Carolina House of Representatives is pleased to learn that Charles Lee will be the keynote speaker at the University of South Carolina School of Public Health and Department of Environmental Health Services Seminar on Wednesday, February 15, 2017; and

Whereas, widely recognized as an actual pioneer of environmental justice, he was the principal author of the groundbreaking report, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States; and

Whereas, Mr. Lee helped to spearhead the emergence of a national environmental justice movement and federal action that included the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, Executive Order 12898, the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), and the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice; and

Whereas, in his role as the senior policy advisor for Environmental Justice at the EPA, he leads the development and implementation of the EPA’s agency-wide environmental justice strategic plans; and

Whereas, Mr. Lee served as a charter member of the NEJAC, where he chaired its Waste and Facility Siting committee; served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Environmental Justice and other panels; and led efforts to incorporate environmental justice into EPA’s rulemaking process, develop models for collaborative problem-solving, transform brownfields’ redevelopment into a community revitalization paradigm, advance approaches to address cumulative risks and impacts, and lay a strong science foundation for integrating environmental justice into decision-making; and

Whereas, from the inception of the South Carolina Department of Health and Pollution Control, he has been an avid supporter of its efforts to promote community involvement, environmental justice, and community revitalization, and has also been a keen advocate of the remarkable achievements of the ReGenesis Environmental Justice partnership in Spartanburg; and

Whereas, Mr. Lee’s prolific work over the past three decades, including copious papers, reports, journals, and articles on environmental justice, has earned him many awards, such as the EJ Pioneer Award from the EPA Administrator on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 12898; and

Whereas, the South Carolina House of Representatives appreciates the significant contributions of Charles Lee to environmental justice in the United States and in the Palmetto State, and the members welcome him as he addresses the University of South Carolina School of Public Health and Department of Environmental Health Services Seminar. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives:

That the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives, by this resolution, recognize and honor Charles Lee, the senior policy advisor for Environmental Justice at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and welcome him to the Palmetto State as the keynote speaker at the University of South Carolina School of Public Health and Department of Environmental Health Services Seminar.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be presented to Charles Lee.

Draft EPA plans indicate increased focus on freight transportation air pollution and public health

Image: East Bay Express http://goo.gl/9yJb6H

Freight transportation hubs such as ports and rail yards may be America’s biggest “black hole” in terms of environmental health, but that might change in the future.

Owners of most polluting facilities, such as power plants, petrochemical facilities, and factories have at least some limits placed on their ability to pollute the air their neighbors breathe, and in many cases, the EPA has taken action to improve regulations and oversight.

But most efforts to address goods movement public health have been less direct and less effective, at least in the short term. While the EPA has worked to require cleaner engines in locomotives and trucks, subsidize engine upgrades in sensitive locations, promote and assist in voluntary efforts, and in other ways, these efforts have not kept pace with the challenges facing overburdened port and rail yard communities.

Fortunately for the over thirteen million Americans who live in these neighborhoods and the tens of millions who live along highway freight corridors, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been listening to overburdened communities, and is developing plans that may improve the lives of millions of people.

Yesterday, the EPA took steps to inform the public of two important draft plans that may bring relief to these communities and others, and to get public feedback.

First, EPA held a webinar on the final draft of the agency’s Environmental Justice (EJ) strategic plan.  Second, the agency released new draft guidance for incorporating environmental justice into regulatory analyses.  A summary of each follows:

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