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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Office of Environmental Justice
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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Office of
Environmental Justice

401 East State Street
7th floor East Wing
Mail Code: 402
Trenton, NJ 08625
PH: (609) 633-0747
FX: (609) 984-3962

Environmental Protection through Public Involvement.

Today, investments in New Jersey’s urban centers and older suburbs, such as preserving open space and brownfields revitalization, are empowering communities to chart a course for redevelopment that ensures public health and environmental protection.

Various studies show communities of color and low-income communities are exposed to a disproportionate amount of industrial pollution and other environmental hazards. Rooted in the 1960’s Civil Rights struggle, the Environmental Justice movement seeks to address these environmental inequities at the local, regional, state and national level. In 1994, concerned citizens gained the right to address environmental injustices under Executive Order 12898 entitled, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations,” signed by President William Clinton. Executive Order 12898 institutionalizes a mechanism whereby state programs receiving federal funds must pro-actively address environmental concerns to ensure that minority and low-income communities are not disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines environmental justice 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. Fair treatment means that no group of people, including a racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies.

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Last Updated: October 11, 2017