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Environmental Justice Recommendations Approved By Cal/EPA
(Beyond Pesticides, October 3, 2003) On September 30, 2003, the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) Advisory Committee on Environmental Justice approved a precedent-setting and long-awaited recommendations report, according to the California Environmental Rights Alliance. The report includes recommendations addressing a broad range of community concerns about public participation in agency decisions, cumulative environmental impacts, and the need for Cal/EPA to take precautionary action to prevent pollution and protect public health.

"We have identified a path for California to achieve environmental justice," said Dr. Joseph Lyou, Executive Director of the California Environmental Rights Alliance and a member of the committee. "This report should bring hope to those fighting for clean air, land, and water in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods," said Dr. Lyou.

California law defines environmental justice as "the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies." Most environmental justice advocates endorse a broader definition that focuses on communities of color and low-income neighborhoods and incorporates the principles of civil rights and environmental protection.

The Cal/EPA Advisory Committee on Environmental Justice includes a broad range of stakeholders from environmental and community organizations, large and small California businesses, and local government and environmental regulatory officials. See www.calepa.ca.gov/EnvJustice/Committee/ for a list of committee members. The finalized Recommendations document will available at www.calepa.ca.gov/EnvJustice in mid-October 2003.