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California Coastal Commission Environmental Justice Policy

March 8, 2019

Established in 1972, the California Coastal Commission has a mandate “to protect and enhance California’s coast and ocean for current and future generations" by regulating development with local government. In 2016, AB 2616 was enacted to amend the state’s Coastal Act, giving the Commission authority to specifically consider environmental justice when making coastal permit decisions. While providing the public and the Commission with guidance on how the agency will implement its authority under AB 2616 - the 2019 environmental justice policy is intended to integrate the principles of environmental justice, equality, and social equity into all aspects of the Commission’s program and operations.

Related Organizations: California Coastal Commission

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Climate Adaptation Investment and the Community Reinvestment Act

June 2019

This report was conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Harvard University to explore the connection between climate adaptation and resilience and the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which encourages banks to invest in and address the credit needs of low- and moderate-income areas and underserved rural areas. The CRA was enacted in 1977 and, according to the Federal Reserve, “requires the Federal Reserve and other federal banking regulators to encourage financial institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they do business, including low- and moderate-income (LMI) neighborhoods.

Related Organizations: Harvard University, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Authors or Affiliated Users: Jesse Keenan, Elizabeth Mattiuzzi

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Prince George's County, Maryland Environmental Justice Commission

April 2019

In 2018, the Maryland General Assembly enacted the Maryland House Bill 183 (HB183) establishing the Environmental Justice Commission to address the environmental and public health concerns in Prince George's County. HB 183 lists the composition of the Commission, outlines the missions and duties of the Commission, mandates a findings and recommendations report along with a plan of action within two years and a month. Enacting the commission to facilitate environmental justice in Prince George's County can help improve inequities of low-income and minority residents in the area impacted by climate change. After the Commission had submitted the first final report in February 2019, the General Assembly further acknowledged the Commission’s work and passed HB 1362 in April 2019 to extend the termination date of the Commission to June 30th, 2020. The final report was submitted on January 10th, 2020.

 

Related Organizations: State of Maryland, Prince George's County, Maryland

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Wells-Goodfellow Neighborhood Green Space Project - St. Louis, Missouri

August 2017

The Green City Coalition (Coalition) -- a partnership between the Metropolitan Sewer District, the City of St. Louis, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the St. Louis Development Corporation -- is leading the conversion of approximately 9 acres of vacant land into greenspace for stormwater management and recreation purposes. The Wells Goodfellow neighborhood in St. Louis has the highest proportion of vacant land in the city, and also struggles with combined sewer overflows, basement backups, and street flooding that affect the Bissell Point Watershed broadly.

Related Organizations: City of St. Louis, Missouri

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Equity Foundations: USDN Capacity Building Program

2016

In September 2015, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), in partnership with the Government Alliance on Race and Equity and the Center for Social Inclusion, launched a professional development program for sustainability directors and their staff for advancing racial equity into sustainability planning and development. The program became available online and includes a holistic curriculum of five webinars, videos and worksheets to support local government staff in applying an equity lens to sustainability projects.

Related Organizations: Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN)

Resource Category: Education and Outreach

 

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Jade District Greening Initiatives - Portland, Oregon

2019

The Jade Greening Initiatives refer to two concurrent initiatives to plan and implement targeted tree planting and greening in the underserved Jade District of outer southeast Portland, Oregon. Residents in the district experience significant economic and health disparities due to historic public disinvestment, its location surrounded by major transportation corridors on all sides, and lack of tree canopy and accessible green space. With assistance from community-based organizations, community members and businesses worked together to set priorities for neighborhood development and greening. Collaboration, planning, and design of new greenspace were supported through the EPA's Greening America's Communities Program and the Oregon Solutions Program.

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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LA Green Zones Program: Groundtruthing

2018

The Los Angeles County, California, Department of Regional Planning (DRP) developed the Green Zones Program in 2015, to attain equitable development for the next 20 years, and to help update the Los Angeles County General Plan. Centering on environmental justice and community engagement, the program aimed to ensure that residents of all income levels can enjoy the development of the County under the changing climate and severe heat. The program addressed the contamination problems in the unincorporated communities, and also secured affordable housing to avoid displacement of the existing residents due to development. The Green Zones Program Framework contained four elements: land use policy, community engagement, environmental justice screening map, and prevention and mitigation. "Groundtruthing" was the main procedural tool utilized by the program to collect and study the potential environmental hazards information in the communities. It emphasized the importance of collaboration with community members and community-based organizations. Groundtruthing was not a one-time event, but a continuing effort between the government and the local communities. 

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Citizen Science: Mapping Urban Heat Islands in Richmond, Virginia

The urban heat island mapping project in Richmond, Virginia is a collaborative project that brings community members together to collect temperature variation data in order to design community-scale adaptation plans. Richmond is a highly populated city that has encountered increased urban heat island effect in recent years. While current technology such as satellites can provide city-scale urban heat data, a more detailed, block-by-block examination of temperature variation in each community has to be studied to understand which communities are most vulnerable to the extreme heat. "Citizen-scientists" were gathered to help measure temperatures in their own city, and related human activities or land use. The citizen-scientists included students from the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University; the Virginia Academy of Science; the City of Richmond’s Sustainability Office; and Groundwork RVA, a nonprofit focused on empowering local young people in the communities.  

Related Organizations: City of Richmond, Virginia, Groundwork RVA

Resource Category: Monitoring and Reporting

 

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Minneapolis Resolution Establishing "Green Zones"

April 28, 2017

On April 28 2017, the Minneapolis City Council approved a final Resolution establishing a Green Zones policy to facilitate community-led planning in socioeconomically vulnerable neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Minnesota with the goal of prioritizing city initiatives to combat a range of resiliency challenges. Within Green Zones pilot areas, city officials will work with the community to develop work plans, focused on specific neighborhoods, that will be designed to prioritize initiatives and link city policies on economic development, gentrification, racial equity, and climate resiliency, to achieve an equitable distribution of resources.

Related Organizations: City of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Newark, New Jersey Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impact Ordinance

July 7, 2016

The Newark Municipal Council passed the Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts Ordinance to address long standing health disparities among Newark’s poorest communities. While the ordinance is not specifically about climate change, it does provide a mechanism to address cumulative environmental impacts that lead to the disproportionate climate risks on low-income residents and people of color. This ordinance requires industrial and commercial development proposals to include information about cumulative environmental impacts that will allow decisionmakers and the public to make an informed decision if the development meets the city’s sustainability goals.

Related Organizations: City of Newark, New Jersey

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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