Engaging with Local Government Officials: How Environmental Groups in Central Missouri Can Make a Difference

Forums and stakeholder groups are organized gatherings of people who would be impacted by, benefit from, or be burdened by an event or process. The department meets with stakeholders through these forums, working groups, committees, and advisory groups to discuss specific environmental issues. These meetings serve a valuable purpose in connecting department staff and their leaders with their customers. The United States Government has an official website that showcases environmental justice in communities by region.

The governing principle of environmental justice is that all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, are entitled to equal protection from environmental harm and risks. The Healthy Communities Grant Program is EPA-Region 1's main competitive grant program to work directly with communities to reduce environmental risks to protect and improve human health and quality of life. Region 2 also co-directs an Inter-Agency Regional Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ RIWG) with the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services headquartered in New York.

This community effort brings together federal partners to find creative solutions for some of the areas with the most economic and environmental challenges in the region. The EPA's Mid-Atlantic Region Environmental Justice (EJ) Program is managed by the Office of Communities, Tribes, and Environmental Assessment (OCTEA).The Environmental Justice and Children's Health Section (EJCHS) is part of the Office of Strategic Programs and reports to the Office of the Regional Administrator (ORA). It plays a critical role in directing and coordinating environmental justice and child health programs in the region. These functions are placed in the ORA to illustrate the high level of significance.

The Region 5 Environmental Justice Program is located in the Office of Tribal and Multimedia Programs, within the Office of the Regional Administrator. We work on all programs in Region 5, in collaboration with a wide range of partners and stakeholders. Our purpose is to achieve transformative progress in promoting justice and environmental equity at the tribal, state, and local levels, through a whole-government approach that engages communities as authentic partners. We strive to increase awareness, participation, and partnerships while working in and with communities to address disproportionate impacts. Region 5 works across programs and divisions to promote and integrate environmental justice. They also work with state environmental agencies to promote environmental justice and equity.

The Office of Environmental Justice, Tribal and International Affairs works closely with communities to facilitate culturally sensitive communication, find solutions, or reduce environmental challenges. The goal of the Environmental Justice program is to ensure that all people are protected from the disproportionate impacts of environmental hazards by working with and on behalf of affected communities. Environmental justice is about real people facing real problems and designing practical solutions to address challenging environmental problems. The environmental justice movement advocates for programs that promote environmental protection in the context of sustainable development. The Environmental Justice program administers EJ's Small Grants and the EJ Collaborative Problem Resolution (CPS) Cooperative Agreement Program. Fulfilling this mandate involves ongoing efforts to ensure that Region 7 addresses environmental justice in everything they do and ensure community awareness of environmental issues and decision-making processes in areas that affect their daily lives.

The program maintains its outreach and education activities, where grant programs and the Agency's participation in community activities have produced tangible environmental benefits for minority and low-income communities. The Region 8 environmental justice program focuses on ensuring that everyone in Region 8 has the same degree of protection against environmental and health hazards, as well as equal access to decision-making processes for a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work. The Region 8 EJ team works to promote environmental justice by supporting underserved communities by connecting, supporting, building capacity, and leveraging resources from internal and external partners. The main areas of focus for the Region 8 EJ team are effectively integrating environmental justice into EPA Region 8 activities; building effective partnerships with external stakeholders; responding to challenges faced by overburdened communities; increasing awareness; participating in community activities; permitting activities; leveraging resources; promoting equity; harnessing resource capacity; sharing experiences; making the impossible possible; integrating principles into strategic planning; providing training; working across all programs; collaborating with states; coordinating with other government agencies; participating with universities; researching centers; disseminating discourse on environmental justice. EPA Region 9 supports programs and projects that help address adverse effects as well as disproportionate effects. Here you will find examples of how communities have used EPA funds to increase their capacity to improve their local environment. We have also provided a list of tools and resources that may be useful to environmental justice organizations as well as residents. Do you have a specific question about the environmental justice program? See the list of network members below as well as topics related to EJ that they know about.

If you don't find what you're looking for, contact the EJ coordinator. The Region 10 environmental justice program works to integrate principles into Idaho, Alaska, Oregon, Washington states through grants, direct collaboration with communities/tribes, close coordination with states/other government agencies/universities/research centers/other entities involved in disseminating discourse on EJ. The program also prioritizes integration within Region 10 office through strategic planning/training/work across all programs/core work/Permit Agency/Compliance/Superfund/other functions. OCTEA is point of contact for community organizations/parties interested in EJ in Region 3 through Missouri Outdoor Connections Project which links individuals/groups so they can together promote stewardship/equity/harness resource capacity/share experiences/make impossible possible. Region 10 provides examples of previously funded projects by exploring map under Projects funded by EJ Program while Region 8 provides tools/resources useful for EJ organizations/residents.