Michigan Seeks Comments on Environmental Justice Plan

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently released a draft Environmental Justice Plan for public comment.

Comments about the draft plan can be sent by email to DEQ-EJplan@michigan.gov, or by mail to Frank Ruswick, senior policy adviser, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, P.O. Box 30473, Lansing, MI 48909.

The plan was developed following Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm's Executive Directive No. 2007-23, issued on Nov. 21, 2007, which tasked DEQ with developing and implementing a state plan.

"Having a strong environmental justice policy for Michigan ensures that all of our citizens are given a voice on the issues that impact the health and environmental well-being of their communities," said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. "I encourage anyone to take the time to read this draft plan and share their thoughts on whether it is the right path forward on this critical issue."

To develop the draft plan, the DEQ established an Environmental Justice Working Group composed of several state agencies, environmental justice advocacy groups, academia, tribal representatives, research professionals, and representatives of economic development and business organizations. Over the course of two years, this working group created a number of subgroups and conducted academic research and focus group meetings. The working group also established a resource group comprised of interested members of the public to provide assistance in the development of the state plan.

The plan is organized into several chapters matching the work of the subgroups of the Environmental Justice Working Group including Public Participation, Integration into DEQ Activities, Disparate Impacts Assessment, Interdepartmental Integration, Petition Process, and Role of Local Units of Government.

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