A Better City Celebrates the Release of Massachusetts’ First-Ever Environmental Justice Strategy

In February 2024, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) and the new Office of Environmental Justice & Equity (OEJE), led by Undersecretary for Environmental Justice & Equity María Belén Power, released the Commonwealth’s first-ever Environmental Justice (EJ) Strategy to provide an implementation and accountability framework for an equitable and just transition to a decarbonized economy. The EJ Strategy acts as a roadmap that will codify and embed environmental justice and equity principles, protocols, and practices into EEA and across all of its agencies. Environmental justice strategies and goals include:

  • Meaningful engagement, between EEA and its agencies and environmental justice communities, with intentional community-led processes designed with and for EJ communities.
  • Project impact analysis, in which EEA agencies will assess impacts of their projects using available state mapping and screening tools to identify impacted EJ neighborhoods.
  • Language access plans, which the secretariat will develop and adopt that comply with the Office of Administration & Finance (A&F) Bulletin #16 and Executive Order 615 ensuring meaningful access to agency services, programs, and activities for people with limited English proficiency.
  • Staff training and hiring, through which EEA and its agencies will implement an EJ training program series to educate and inspire EEA agencies to value EJ and equity, and to maintain them as core priorities of their work.
  • Metrics and tracking of current baseline and future environmental justice metrics to measure progress and impact over time.

In addition to overarching strategies and themes across EEA, the EJ Strategy also includes each individual agency’s plan to embed environmental justice into their work, in a way that is customized to the agency’s mission and authority. The EJ Strategy was developed through public stakeholder engagement with environmental justice communities, community-based organizations, advocates, and municipalities across Massachusetts, as well as with input from the state-level appointed Environmental Justice Council. In addition to having EJ liaisons established in each EEA agency to collaborate across EEA, EEA and OEJE will also revisit and update the EJ Strategy every three years and will release an annual progress report (beginning with the first report in December 2024).

For more information, please contact Isabella Gambill.

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