Environmental Justice is defined within South Carolina as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of people of all races, cultures and income with respect to the development, adoption, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies in working toward increasing prosperity of all South Carolinians.
In 2007, the South Carolina Environmental Justice Advisory Committee was formed through Act 171. Those who served on the Advisory Committee consisted of thirteen state agencies and 3 universities. The Committee was charged with finding the current status of programs and policies that pertain to environmental justice within state agencies; and, making recommendations as it pertains to environmental justice, economic development, and revitalization. The law stated that all findings and recommendations should be submitted in a report that would be sent to the Governor and General Assembly on January 1, 2010. DHEC was Chair of the Advisory Committee; therefore, information associated with the Advisory Committee is on our website. To view the South Carolina Environmental Justice Advisory Committee Final Report, click here.
In 2009, the U.S. EPA sought applications from state regulatory agencies for the 2009 Environmental Justice Cooperative Agreement. DHEC applied and was 1 of 5 selected to receive this cooperative agreement.
DHEC used the majority of this money to provide four (4) pilot communities grant money in the amount of $25,000, each, over a three-year period; the cooperative agreement ended on September 30, 2012. The pilot project was called, "Leaders in Environmental Action Pilots (LEAP)."
In February 2010, four (4) communities were selected to be pilot communities. The four pilot projects selected were nonprofit organizations within environmental justice communities. Through the cooperative agreement, EPA and DHEC worked closely with these communities as they built capacity while identifying and addressing environmental concerns. DHEC and EPA partnered with them as they strived to redevelop their communities.
The following are the pilots selected:
- A Place For Hope - Blackmon Road area right outside of the City of Rock Hill within York County, SC. This community lacks basic needs (such as water, electricity, and sewer).
- Community Development & Improvement Corporation - Granitevillle, Vaucluse, and Warrenville communities. These communities seek to be revitalized after the train derailment in 2005 and then the closing of Avondale Mills in 2007.
- The Imani Group, Inc. - Community based organization based in Aiken, SC, along Savannah River Site corridor. This nonprofit strives to assist communities with addressing their environmental concerns.
- Lowcountry Alliance for Model Communities (LAMC) - Comprised of five neighborhood presidents and other leaders representing seven of the most economically distressed neighborhoods in the City of North Charleston, SC. A partnership between the City of North Charleston and LAMC to ensure that the South Carolina State Ports Authority’s expansion enhanced the community of which it is part.
For more information, contact:
Office of the Community Liaison
Environmental Quality Control