Congratulations MA EJ Alliance & ACE on the historic signing of the Executive Order on Environmental Justice!

On November 25, 2014, Governor Patrick signed the Massachusetts Executive Order on Environmental Justice (EO) at the Chelsea Collaborative. The Governor’s Executive Order on Environmental Justice illustrates an important milestone in the EJ movement, made possible by the tireless work of grassroots organizations and allies in the Massachusetts Environmental Justice Alliance (MA EJ Alliance), and convened by Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE), a BUSRP Community Engagement Core partner. The EO will provide the momentum necessary for all state agencies to devote additional resources to ensure an equal distribution of environmental goods such as increased green space, well-paying safe jobs, clean air and water, and healthy and energy efficient buildings and to reduce burdens such as poor air quality and contaminated lands that can cause poor health. The EO builds off the 2002 EJ Policy, which is still in effect and is scheduled to be reviewed and updated in early 2015. The EO applies to all state agencies, unlike the EJ Policy, which only applies to the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. As part of each state agency’s EJ strategy, the EO calls for applicable agencies to review their policies in three areas:

1. the authority of the agency to regulate or permit development, brownfield, industrial and commercial projects that might affect EJ populations
2. economic development projects, environmental benefits and other discretionary funding programs that might benefit EJ populations, and
3. an enhanced public participation process for EJ populations potentially affected by development, brownfields, industrial and commercial projects.

After five years of meetings, listening sessions with state and federal government officials, and direct negotiation with the Patrick Administration, congratulations to ACE and the 20 grassroots groups and allies from around the state that MA EJ Alliance brings together on the victory to increase environmental benefits and reduce environmental burdens in the state!

November 25, 2014