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What you need to know about the DEP Environmental Justice Policy Revision

Currently, the DEP is in the process of making revisions to their Environmental Justice Policy. This is a much-needed update because the current Environmental Justice Policy has been in effect since 2

004. The DEP illustrates that Environmental Justice embodies the principles that com

munities and populations should not be disproportionately exposed to adverse environmental impacts. So, the Environmental Justice Policy is a protection policy to prevent environmental injustices. The current Environmental Justice (EJ) policy is to remain in effect until the updated policy is adopted.

The DEP policies are documents that outline the procedures that the DEP follows to meet the requirements of environmental law. The draft of the updated EJ Policy will help guide the Department to further expand the aspects of EJ work within regulatory limits.

In the policy revision, there were several new updates. The new plan expanded the General Information section, defining more terms and defining the EJ tasks. An EJ Strategic Plan (Section IC-8) will be developed every 5 years. Focusing attention on environmental and public health issues that are affecting Pennsylvanians, especially minority and low-income populations. The policy also added a section on Inspection, Compliance, and Enforcement (Section V), Climate Initiatives (Section VI), and Grants (Section VII A) to expand the depth of the policy. Additionally, the DEP secretary will also be responsible for reviewing this policy at least every four years to determine its effectiveness and make the proper updates to stay in compliance with environmental laws and community policy concerns (Section VII).