WISCONSIN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Citizens for a Clean Wausau (CCW) has been actively advocating for Environmental Justice for Wausonians and Wisconsinites since its inception nearly five years ago.
Environmental Justice (EJ) is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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.”
In addition to the group’s sustained efforts to assist in defining the extent and nature of serious contamination on Wausau’s southwest side — a diverse, working class neighborhood and a formally identified Environmental Justice community — its members played a key role in advocating for what ultimately became Wisconsin’s first municipal-level EJ resolution in state history.
A CCW member currently sits on the Advisory Committee for the State’s new Wisconsin Environmental Equity Tool (WEET), “a comprehensive environmental and public health equity—or environmental justice—screening and mapping tool that is being developed by four state agencies in consultation with other partners and community members.” And one of our members was named a recipient of the statewide 2021 Bill Iwen Environmental Justice Award for his efforts supporting EJ principles while pushing for more government transparency, more public engagement, and long overdue environmental testing and remediation in diverse, working class neighborhoods.
Through a CHEJ grant, Citizens for a Clean Wausau will be holding the 2023 Midwest Environmental Health Summit in Wausau, WI in June, hosting experts and activists from each EPA Region 5 state.
WI STATE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE INITIATIVES
Recently, the State of Wisconsin has taken multiple actions to begin creating tools and the governmental infrastructure to better identify and protect communities that have been disproportionately impacted and burdened by chemical and non-chemical environmental stressors.
In addition to the Wisconsin DNR, DHS, DOA, and WEDC embarking on the development of a state-level Environmental Justice screening and mapping tool, WEET, the governor’s Executive Order #161 laid the foundation for the establishment of the State’s first Office of Environmental Justice.
Relevant Contact Information for the State of Wisconsin —
Wisconsin DNR Environmental Justice Policy Advisor (Office of the Secretary):
Julie Majerus | firstname.lastname@example.org
FEDERAL-LEVEL EFFORTS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN WISCONSIN: EPA REGION 5
Various EPA Regions are undertaking Environmental Justice efforts and initiatives, including EPA Region 5 (Great Lakes) which encompasses Wisconsin. EPA Region 5 has highlighted multiple examples of its participation working in and with communities in the Midwest to address disproportionate impacts, including — but not limited to — drinking water and sanitary sewer issues.
EPA Region 5 has also been active in Environmental Issues as they relate to permitting activities, from the Clean Air Act (CAA) to its “Regional Implementation Plan to Promote Meaningful Engagement of Overburdened Communities in Permitting Activities.”
Relevant Contact Information for EPA Region 5 —
Environmental Justice Program Manager:
Alan Walts | email@example.com
WISCONSIN EJ RESOURCES AND RELATED NEWS