Environmental Justice Commission
What is Environmental Justice (EJ)?
Environmental justice (EJ) is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) 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.”
How are communities affected by Environmental Justice issues?
When considering EJ literature and grassroots movements it is imperative to expound on the EPA definition by identifying which communities are affected and how they are affected. Prince George’s County Environmental Justice Commission
s provided an expanded EJ definition by including the EJ activist and scholar Bunyan Bryant’s analysis: “An environmental injustice occurs when a particular social group, not necessarily a racially ethnic group, is burdened with environmental hazards. […] It refers to those institutional rules, regulations, and policies of the government or corporate decisions that deliberately target certain communities for least desirable land uses, resulting in the disproportionate exposure of toxic and hazardous waste on communities based upon prescribed biological [socioeconomic] characteristics.”
Prince George’s County Environmental Justice Commission- Background and Purpose
Concern for environmental health and its impact on public health prompted the Maryland General Assembly to establish a commission to study and make recommendations regarding certain environmental justice (EJ) issues and other matters that directly affect communities in Prince George’s County. The commission was enacted by Maryland House Bill 183 (HB 183) and first convened in 2018. The State amended this bill in 2019 with [HD1] the passing of HB 1362 .
The Commission is required to:
(1) study environmental justice issues in Prince George’s County;
(2) make recommendations regarding actions that should be taken to address environmental justice issues in Prince George’s County and the duration of the Commission
(3) report its findings and recommendations with a plan of action to the Prince George’s County House Delegation in accordance with § 2–1246 of the State Government Article.
Composition of the Prince George’s County Environmental Justice Commission
HB 1362 defines the Commission membership and requires that members represent: 1) Office of the County Executive, 2) County Council, 3) State’s Attorney Office, 4) Prince George’s County Department of the Environment, 5) Prince George’s County Department of Permitting, Inspection and Enforcement, 6) Prince George’s County Health Department, 7) Maryland Department of the Environment 8) the business community in Prince George’s County, 9) an environmental organization focused on EJ issues in Prince George’s County, and 10) the public for which two members, who reside in the County, are required .
Commission meetings will be held every other Tuesday at 6 pm beginning October 15 through December. Please see the meeting schedule for specific dates.
1801 McCormick Drive
Potomac Conference Room
Meeting dates for 2019:
Prince George’s County EJ Commission Information: