News Release

For release: Dec. 16, 2010

Contacts:
Nina DeConcini, Oregon DEQ, Portland, 503-229-6271

Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force Receives EPA Award

EPA recognizes the Governor’s task force for addressing environmental justice concerns in Oregon to help improve health in disadvantaged communities

The Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force has received a National Achievements in Environmental Justice Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for effectively implementing Oregon's environmental justice legislation and incorporating environmental justice considerations into state agency programs.

 

The Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force is one of five partnerships EPA recognized this year for their contributions to advancing environmental justice in communities.

 

The goal of this EPA awards program is to encourage communities to form partnerships, work together to solve problems, identify and take actions that directly benefit the community residents, and document successful activities that can be used in other communities to address significant environmental justice concerns.

 

In 2007, the Oregon Legislature passed a bill that calls for environmental justice in Oregon by ensuring that all people affected by natural resource agencies’ decisions have a voice in those decisions. At the same time, the bill set up the Environmental Justice Task Force to advise the Governor and natural resource agencies such as the Department of Environmental Quality on environmental justice issues.

 

“Congratulations to the Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force for receiving this national award,” said Governor Ted Kulongoski. “Environmental justice is about correcting the imbalance of environmental benefits and environmental burdens.  In the short time since the task force was created, it has worked diligently to highlight how the State of Oregon is working to achieve that balance.”

 

DEQ Director Dick Pedersen noted that the award recognizes the positive collaboration between the citizen members of the task force and state agencies.

 

“Like many local, state and federal agencies, DEQ is working hard to improve our understanding and consideration of environmental justice issues in our communities. Working with the task force improves DEQ’s ability to understand how the work we do affects people’s health and their environment.”

 

The Governor also expressed his appreciation for former Senator Avel Gordly's leadership in developing the bill which created the Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force.

 

The Governor’s Office provides staff support to the task force.  The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is actively involved with the task force and is a leader among state agencies in considering environmental justice in its work.

 

            Find more information about the Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force at www.oregon.gov/Gov/GNRO/environmental_justice.shtml

 

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