231613 Building capacity to address environmental health problems in communities with environmental justice concerns

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 8:30 AM - 8:40 AM

B. Suzi Ruhl, JD, MPH , Office of Environmental Justice, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
There is a growing body of evidence which documents disproportionate impact of environmental, economic and health burdens faced by minority, low-income and tribal communities. Environmental justice is a dynamic field of study providing a lens by which to analyze these concerns. Under the current administration, environmental justice has received heightened attention, due to the EPA Administrator's investment and interest in tackling environmental justice concerns. This renewed focus on environmental justice has created important opportunities to strengthen how we address these issues throughout the EPA, with other government agencies, and within communities. Environmental justice issues are complex and require a multi prong approach to address them. EPA's Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) has developed a number of tools to identify and address environmental justice concerns including funding, technical assistance, training, and policy development. These opportunities seek to 1) support and empower communities that are working on local solutions to address local environmental and/or public health issues and 2) foster collaboration between affected communities and diverse stakeholders to promote and integrate approaches that provide meaningful and measurable improvements to the public health and/or environment in the communities. Specific capacity building opportunities include Environmental Justice Showcase Communities, Environmental Justice Small Grants, and State Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreements. Policy development opportunities include rulemaking, enforcement, and National Environmental Policy Act reviews. This presentation will increase understanding of EPA's capacity building approaches and policy efforts that reduce adverse environmental and health impacts and increase benefits by addressing environmental justice concerns in minority, low-income and tribal communities.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. The audience will be able to describe EPA’s capacity building programs that address environmental justice and discuss how financial tools support community efforts to achieve environmental justice. 2. The audience will be able to describe EPA’s policy development efforts that address environmental justice. 3. The audience will be able to identify at least one initiative to increase collaboration efforts between state and local governments and EPA regional offices.

Keywords: Environmental Justice, Community Capacity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Suzi Ruhl, JD is a Senior Attorney Advisor with the Office of Environmental Justice at the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington DC.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.