Environmental Justice Policy
 

CMEJ is well aware that fighting site by site and facility by facility in an Environmental Justice community where "legacy polluters" are is insufficient and unsustainable. We look to systemic, structural changes that will address the cumulative pollution experienced in our neighborhoods, and move toward a vision of sustainability - as true sustainability must have justice at its core. These issues are multi-jurisdictional and we activate and move policy at those multiple levels. 

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Proposed policies at city and state levels 

CITY:   Enact an Environmental Justice ordinance requiring cumulative health impacts assessment and land use reviews which ensure community say on land developments. Hold all jurisdictional development in adherence (freeway projects etc.).

CITY:   Study what it would take use eminent domain to purchase Northern Metals and other problematic industrial land that is rented out to bad actors. Use purchased land for a community investment trust plan for cleanup and community use/public benefit. Begin a community visioning project to work with the community affected by Northern Metals to develop a vision for redevelopment of the site and other problematic adjacent properties. Use COVID Recovery Act dollars to this end.

STATE:  MN Pollution Control Agency and MN Dept of Health: 

  • Change MPCA and MDH authority on cumulative health impacts and ability to regulate industry and state projects (i.e. highways) in Environmental Justice areas [state legislation change], in order to require more protective measures in Environmental Justice communities and to give the agencies the ability to shutdown repeat bad actors. Act in Fall 2021-2022 legislative session.

  • Change statutory language to ensure fines from MPCA enforcement actions go into an Environmental Justice Fund (not just the general fund) so money will be invested back into the community where the harm occurred.

  • Ensure that testing/reporting plan/monitoring is more comprehensive in Environmental Justice neighborhoods - and is done by 3rd parties during litigations (like we had Northern Northern Metals doing). 
    It is clear MPCA's monitoring plan has serious gaps. Revise to account for duration, concentration, toxicity, and spatial exposure to vulnerable populations (women of child bearing age, children, elderly).

  • Public forum to share the comprehensive plan for reductions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and cumulative impacts of toxics/co-pollutants/criteria pollutants in Environmental Justice communities by MPCA permitted facilities. Open and provide notice of MPCA Environmental Justice advisory meetings for community members to have access and provide comment on Environmental Justice concerns.
     

STATE:  Environmental Quality Board (state): Ensure environmental review in Environmental Justice neighborhoods more thorough, including reviews done by third parties when property is owned by City (RGU).