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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Office of Environmental Justice
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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Office of
Environmental Justice

401 East State Street
7th floor East Wing
Mail Code: 402
Trenton, NJ 08625
PH: (609) 633-0747
FX: (609) 984-3962

Environmental Protection through Public Involvement.


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NJ Community Corner

Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment means that no group of people, including a racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies.

- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Communities of color and low-income communities are exposed to a disproportionate amount of industrial pollution and other environmental hazards. In 1994, citizens gained the right to address environmental injustices under Executive Order 12898 entitled, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations,” signed by President William Clinton. Executive Order 12898 institutionalizes a mechanism whereby state programs receiving federal funds must pro-actively address environmental concerns to ensure that minority and low-income communities are not disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards.

In New Jersey, DEP is addressing environmental justice concerns through a comprehensive approach to community environmental management. DEP’s three priority EJ principles are:

  1. To Protect Human Health and the Environment
    1. Focus on Environmental and Health Stressors
  2. Empower Communities
    1. Through Awareness and Education
    2. By Building Local Capacity
    3. Supporting Access to Decision Makers
  3. Strengthen Partnerships
    1. Between Community Organizations and Residents
    2. Among Local, State, and Federal Governments
    3. With Regulated Entities

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Last Updated: October 23, 2019