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Environmental Justice

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What is Environmental Justice?

The EPA defines Environmental Justice as “the just treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of income, race, color, national origin, Tribal affiliation, or disability, in agency decision-making and other Federal activities that affect human health and the environment…”

IDEM ESI coordinators have been scheduling outreach meetings with a variety of Environmental Justice organizations, civic groups, and neighborhood associations to ask stakeholders about Environmental Justice concerns. The meetings are conducted mostly in person at locations and times that are convenient for stakeholders.

IDEM stakeholder outreach is centered on the introduction of the “ESI Request” system, which allows stakeholders to ask questions and obtain answers from ESI coordinators.  Please utilize the “ESI Request” form on this site to contact staff with questions, concerns, or to schedule an ESI outreach presentation.

ESI staff also translate documents into other languages (primarily Spanish) and make arrangements to ensure translation services are available at public meetings so that residents with possible language barriers have the same opportunities for meaningful engagement in environmental processes and actions.  This includes ADA accommodations for stakeholders attending IDEM meetings.

IDEM ESI coordinators also assist IDEM staff in the Office of Air Quality, Office of Land Quality, and Office of Water Quality to ensure that grant applications comply with the Justice40 Initiative, which makes it a goal that forty percent of benefits of Federal investments are directed toward disadvantaged communities.

Federal rules and laws do not currently outline the use of EJ analysis in determining whether permits should be granted. The IDEM ESI team focuses on outreach to permit holders to discuss “being good neighbors” and working with stakeholders, especially those in disadvantaged areas.

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