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Environmental Justice

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency defines “environmental justice” as 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.”

Historically throughout our state, overburdened communities have experienced higher levels of environmental pollution within their community along with other social and economic burdens. These communities have been slow to develop or redevelop.

Our vision is that all South Carolinians, regardless of race, age, culture, income, or geographic location, are protected from environmental and health hazards and are afforded accessibility to, and fair treatment in, our decision-making processes to enhance all aspects of our quality of life. Meaningful community involvement meets the needs of all communities, including those of environmental justice communities.

In 2007, Act 171 passed forming the South Carolina Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (SCEJAC). SC DHEC served on the SCEJAC with 13 other state agencies. The Committee was chaired by SC DHEC’s commissioner. The SCEJAC identified programs and services that state agencies can provide to assist with redeveloping communities across our state.

SC DHEC has worked with environmental justice communities across our state in many capacities. We strive to build strong relationships with environmental justice communities to assist them with addressing their environmental concerns so that they can begin to revitalize their communities. Addressing these environmental and health concerns will also assist with eliminating other social issues such as crime, transportation issues, and other activities associated with abandoned industrial sites within these communities.

EPA Environmental Justice Achievement Award (pdf)

 

For more information about the Environmental Justice Program, please contact:

Karen Sprayberry
Senior EJ Advisor to the Director
Office of Environmental Affairs
Email: SprayBKJ@dhec.sc.gov

Michael Bailey
Environmental Justice Coordinator
Office of Environmental Affairs
Email: BaileyMB@dhec.sc.gov