of New Jersey
WHEREAS, all residents of the State of New Jersey, regardless of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, or income, deserve to live in communities free from the effects of pollution and are entitled to participate in decision-making that affects their environment, their communities, their homes, and their health; and
WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey is committed to promoting human health, protecting the environment, and providing its residents, especially persons of low-income and persons of color, with information about environmental conditions affecting their health, their homes, and their communities; and
WHEREAS, within the State of New Jersey, some communities whose residents are predominantly of persons of low-income and persons of color bear a disproportionate share of the impact of pollution and other threats to public health and the quality of life; and
WHEREAS, studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal agencies have documented that the prevalence of childhood asthma is increasing nationwide, that this increase is linked in part to poor air quality, and that childhood asthma is found disproportionately in Black and Latino/Hispanic communities; and
WHEREAS, the cumulative exposure to pollution and other hazards from multiple sources in communities whose residents are predominantly low-income and persons of color creates a disproportionate impact on the health, well-being, and quality of life of persons living in those communities and addressing those impacts requires a coordinated response across multiple governmental agencies and a more inclusive process of decision-making; and
WHEREAS, the federal government and the State of New Jersey have acknowledged the significance of these disproportionate impacts in these communities and taken steps to coordinate governmental responses and improve decision-making, the federal government by issuing Executive Order 12898 and creating the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council to integrate environmental justice into the Environmental Protection Agency’s policies, programs, initiatives and activities, and the State of New Jersey by issuing Executive Order No. 96 (2004) with similar purposes; and
WHEREAS, New Jersey’s Executive Order No. 96 (2004) will expire on February 17, 2009;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JON S. CORZINE, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by the virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:
- Executive branch departments, agencies, boards, commissions, and any and all other bodies of the State’s executive branch, including but not limited to the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of the Public Advocate, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), and the Department of Law and Public Safety (DL&PS), which are involved in decisions that affect environmental quality and public health shall provide appropriate opportunities for all persons, regardless of race, ethnicity, color, religion, income, or education level to participate in decision-making. Programs to promote and protect human health and the environment shall be reviewed periodically to ensure that they: (a) meet the needs of persons living in low-income communities and communities of color; and (b) address disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards.
- There is hereby created the Environmental Justice Advisory Council (“Advisory Council”) in the Department of Environmental Protection. The members of the Advisory Council shall be appointed by the Commissioner of DEP, shall consist of fifteen individuals, and shall meet not less frequently than quarterly. The Council shall annually select a Chairperson from its membership and shall have a minimum composition of one third membership from grassroots or faith-based community organizations. Additional membership shall include representatives from: academic public health, statewide environmental, civil rights and public health organizations; large and small business and industry; municipal and county officials, and organized labor. The chief of staff shall designate a representative from the Governor’s Office to serve as a liaison to the Advisory Council and to assist it in accomplishing its mission.
- The Advisory Council shall be charged with making recommendations from time to time to the Commissioner of DEP about issues involving environmental justice in this State in fulfillment of this Executive Order.
- The DEP shall review and consider all recommendations submitted by the Advisory Council, in fulfillment of this Executive Order, including recommendations for policy and regulatory changes that DEP can undertake to consider and incorporate cumulative impacts into its decision-making.
- Nothing in this Executive Order is intended to create a private right of action to enforce any provision of this Order; nor is this Order intended to diminish any existing legal rights or remedies.
- When this Executive Order is signed, Executive Order No. 96 (2004) shall have no further force and effect.
- The Council shall operate until December 31, 2013.
- This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.
GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 5th day of
Two Thousand and Nine, and of the
Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Thirty-third.
/s/ Jon S. Corzine
/s/ William J. Castner, Jr.
Chief Counsel to the Governor