Environmental Justice

Photo: Secretary McIlwain joins leaders from the Turner Station community at National Night Out in the summer of 2023.​

In Maryland, under the leadership of Governor Wes Moore and Secretary Serena McIlwain, the Maryland Department of the Environment is committed to addressing injustices that have occurred throughout history in communities located next to industry that have been exposed to higher levels of pollution.​

Everyone deserves clean land, clean water and clean air.

​​We must ensure that communities of every culture, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background get fair protection from environmental and health hazards, as well as equal access to the decision-making process for environmental policies.

Our state, nation and world is increasingly dealing with severe storms and other effects of climate change, such as extreme heat events, as well as pollution from industry and poor air quality from wildfires. The people most affected by these environmental challenges are our most underserved and overburdened communities in Maryland. 

Environmental justice is defined under Maryland state law as "equal protection from environmental and public health hazards for all people regardless of race, income, culture, and social status.​​"

The Maryland Department of the Environment is addressing these environmental disparities by building relationships with communities and making sure they have the tools and knowledge to be involved in the processes.

The department has taken action to make the following improvements to operations for environmental justice:

Find out more about our plans to address environmental justice in Maryland:​

Environmental Justice Policy and Implementation Plan 2022.pdf

Environmental Justice Policy and Implementation Plan 2020.pdf

Justi​​​c​e 40​​ in Maryland

The Biden-Harris Administration’s initiative to confront and address decades of underinvestment in disadvantaged communities is known as Justice 40.

The initiative has a goal that 40 percent of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. Maryland consistently meets these goals and is going above and beyond.

Federal and state policy also requires engagement and stakeholder consultation to ensure that community stakeholders are meaningfully involved in determining program benefits and for programs to report data on the benefits directed to disadvantaged communities.

Technical assistance and support is available to communities to identify and obtain grant funding, including:


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Photo: Secretary McIlwain meets students at Saint Frances Academy in Baltimore at an event to install electric vehicle​​ chargers.

In the​ News​

Secretary McIlwain Appoints First Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice​

Study by Curtis Bay Community, Student Scientists and MDE Measures Coal Dust in Air

Climate Pollution Reduction Plan Includes Environmental Justice Initiatives

Our Environme​ntal Justice Team

​Brandon ​​Brooks
Environmental Justice Coordinator​
(443) 615-2565​

Noble Smith
Environmental Justice Officer - Air and Radiation
(410) 537-3041

For general questions about the environment justice, requesting a listening session, and other topics, please email us.

Report Environmental Emergency
(866) 633-4686


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