Environmental Justice in Maryland
The Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities (CEJSC) defines environmental justice (EJ) as follows:
Environmental justice seeks equal protection from environmental and public health hazards for all people regardless of race, income, culture and social class. Additionally, environmental justice means that no group of people including racial, ethnic or socioeconomic groups should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, land-use planning and zoning, municipal and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local and municipal program and policies.
The Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities was previously established by Executive Order on January 1, 2001 and is now statutorily codified under § 1-701 of the Environment Article of the Md. Ann. Code. The Commission examines EJ and community sustainability issues that may be associated with creating healthy, safe, economically vibrant, environmentally sound communities for all Marylanders in a manner that allows for democratic processes and community involvement. Maryland’s approach to EJ is consistent with the approach advocated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Summary of CEJSC Statutory Charge:
- Advise State government agencies on EJ.
- Analyze the effectiveness of State and local government laws and policies to address issues of EJ and sustainable communities.
- Coordinate with CEHPAC on the issues of EJ and sustainable communities.
- Develop criteria to assess what communities in MD may be experiencing EJ issues.
- Recommend options for addressing EJ issues to the Governor and the General Assembly; include prioritized areas of the State that need immediate attention.
If you have any environmental justice concerns, questions or need to report an environmental justice issue, please contact MDE through any one of the following: