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Overview - Environmental Justice Program

What is Environmental Justice?

Environmental Justice means that all people should be treated fairly under environmental laws regardless of race, ethnicity, culture or economic status.  The Environmental Justice movement has emerged in response to a growing body of evidence nationally and statewide indicating that low income; racial and ethnic minority groups may be exposed to higher than average amounts of environmental pollution. Industrial air pollution, lead paint, disposal facilities, pesticides and contaminated fish are just a few examples.

In Connecticut there are over 600 potential pollution sources in each of our five major metropolitan towns: Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Stamford and Waterbury.  These five towns combined contain:

  • 19% of the state's pollution

  • 20% of all potential pollution sources

  • 51% of all the state's population in poverty

  • 71% of the state's minority population

In light of these facts and because the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is committed to enhancing the quality of life for all residents, the Environmental Justices Program was created.

What does the Environmental Justice Program Do?

The Environmental Justice Program incorporates principals of environmental justice into aspects of the CTDEEP's program development, policy making, and regulatory activities, including but not limited to:

  • assessing the effectives of CTDEEP efforts in the state's urban areas;

  • assessing and responding to environmental problems in low-income and minority communities;

  • developing strategies to increase public participation in the agency's decision making process;

  • identifying community health concerns in consultation with local and state departments of health;

  • enhancing public participation in administrative proceedings;

  • educating the public on CTDEEP regulations, policies and procedures; and

  • decreasing language barriers.

How can the Environmental Justice Program Assist You?

The Environmental Justice Program actively seeks ways to assist neighborhoods by responding to needs identified by them.  You are encouraged to speak to us about what needs to be done to protect and improve the environment in your community.

Examples of issues commonly raised by residents that the program can assist you with include:

  • Rodent control

  • Illegal dumping/auto body shops - (To report illegal dumping, call your local public works department.)

  • Air pollution/demolition dust

  • Lead paint

  • Improper pesticide use

  • Contaminated fish

  • Permitting and siting issues

  • Lack of access to state parks

  • School inspections

For more information, please contact:

Edith Pestana, Administrator - (860) 424-3044
Doris Johnson, Outreach & Education Coordinator - (860) 424-3053

Environmental Justice