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Environmental Justice Task Force

Environmental Justice Task Force Meeting

The next EJTF meeting will take place Wednesday December 3, 2014 from 1pm to 3pm at the ODOT Headquarters located at 355 Capitol Street, Salem, OR.  The meeting will be held in the Henry Hewitt Conference Room.  Optional conference line is:  1-888-273-3658 Participant Code:  535205. Click here for the meeting agenda.

Click here to see the Final EJTF Annual Report for 2012-13

Oregonians have a voice in environmental policy decisions
Senate Bill 420 created the Environmental Justice Task Force in 2007 
Senate Bill 420 calls for environmental justice in Oregon by ensuring that all persons affected by decisions of natural resource agencies have a voice in those decisions. At the same time, the bill set up a task force - Environmental Justice Task Force, or EJTF - to advise the Governor and natural resource agencies on environmental justice issues.
Senate Bill 420 identified 14 state agencies as participants in the Environmental Justice Task Force: Agriculture, Education,  Environmental Quality, Fish & Wildlife, Forestry, Geology & Mineral Industries, Land Conservation & Development, Marine Board, OHA, PUC, State Lands, Transportation, Water Resources and the State Fire Marshal's Office.  The agencies report annually to the EJTF on steps they are taking to ensure that their actions address the interests of all Oregonians. Read the agencies' past Reports to EJTF. 

EJTF consists of 12 members (see roster at the end of this page) and is staffed by Governor Kitzhaber's office. The Task Force reports annually to the Governor, detailing the progress of natural resource agencies toward achieving the environmental justice goals outlined in Senate Bill 420. Read past EJTF reports to the Governor.  The Environmental Justice Task Force meets quarterly.   
Make your voice heard!
What is Environmental Justice? How can you participate in decisions that affect you?
Environmental Justice Defined:  Environmental justice is equal protection from environmental and health hazards, and meaningful public participation in decisions that affect the environment in which people live, work, learn, practice spirituality and play. "Environmental justice communities" include minority and low-income communities, tribal communities, and other communities traditionally underrepresented in public processes.

Purpose of the Environmental Justice Task Force:  When state agencies make decisions that affect our environment it is critical that low-income and minority populations are not disproportionately affected.  The Environmental Justice Task Force (EJTF) was created by the Legislature to help protect Oregonians from disproportionate environmental impacts on minority and low-income populations.  The EJTF encourages state agencies to give all people knowledge and access to improve decisions that affect environment and the health of all Oregonians.

Make Your Voice Heard:  Offer your voice in decisions made by state agencies.  The EJTF encourages you to take action when you feel impacted by one or more issues listed below. 

 Your voice for Environmental Justice
  • You have a voice in decisions that affect potable drinking water and clean air.
  • You have a voice in decisions that may put toxic pollutants in your living and working areas.
  • You have a voice in decisions about toxics in schools that affect your kids.
  • You have a voice in decisions that affect your community's health, such as land use decisions that could increase pollution in your neighborhood.
  • You have a voice in asking for caution in environmental decisions that affect your community, even if absolute proof of the problem is not yet confirmed.
  • You have a voice in clean and healthy access to your native cultural places and usual and accustomed fishing sites.
  • You have a voice in decisions that will increase climate change and impact your community, such as increased flooding, drought and fires, and impacts to species, habitats or local foods.
  • You have a voice in all decisions about toxics in food, water, air, soil and homes.
  • You have a voice in any issue of concern regarding environmental issues that affect your home, work, or place of worship.
How to be heard:

Contact Governor Kitzhaber if you have an opinion you would like to share on important environmental justice issues.
The EJTF meets quarterly with opportunity for public comment and the next meeting information is listed on this web page. 
Environmental Justice Task Force Members
There is established the Environmental Justice Task Force consisting of 12 members appointed by the Governor. The members shall be persons who are well-informed on the principles of environmental justice and who, to the greatest extent practicable, represent minority communities, low-income communities, environmental interests, industry groups and geographically diverse areas of the state. Of the 12 members, the Governor shall appoint one member of the task force from each of the commissions on Asian Affairs, Black Affairs, Hispanic Affairs and Indian Services.
Current appointees:
Ben E. Duncan, Multnomah County Environmental Health
Jon Ostar, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
Mariahm Stephenson (Beaverton) -- Resident of Washington County
Robert William Collin (Salem)  Willamette University Center for Sustainable Communities
Jackie L. Johnson (Cove) -- Resident of Union County
Jennifer Coleman (Portland) Oregon Environmental Council
Julie R. Samples (Hillsboro) Oregon Law Center Farmworker Program
Commission on Black Affairs: Robin M. Collin 
Commission on Hispanic Affairs: Cynthia C. Gomez 
Commission on Indian Services: VACANT
Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Affairs: Joseph M. Santos-Lyons 
Please note: Task Force members' affiliation is listed for identification purposes only, except for the four commission representatives
State Agency Citizen Advocates
Senate Bill 420 directed natural resource agencies to appoint a state agency staff person to serve as a citizen advocate to encourage public participation, ensure the agency considers environmental justice issues, inform the agency of the effects of its decisions on traditionally underrepresented communities, and improve plans to further the progress of environmental justice in Oregon. The current citizen advocates appear below:

Agriculture, Rose Kachadoorian
Education, Karen Moscon 
Environmental Quality, Nina Deconcini and Christine Svetkovich
Fire Marshall, Sue Otjen
Fish and Wildlife, Curt Melcher
Forestry, Rod Nichols
Geology and Mineral Industries, Gary Lynch
Health Authority, Curtis Cude and Sharon Watkins
Land Conservation and Development, Sadie Carney
Marine Board, June Letarte
Public Utilities Commission, Bob Valdez
State Lands, Chris Castelli
Transportation, Rebecca Williams
Water Resources, Alyssa Mucken

EPA honors Oregon's Environmental Justice Task Force
EJTF is lauded for 'unprecedented cooperation and relationship building'
The Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force has received a National Achievements in Environmental Justice Award from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for effectively implementing Oregon's environmental justice legislation (Senate Bill 420) and incorporating environmental justice considerations into state agency programs. The EJTF was one of five environmental partnerships to receive recognition. Read the full story at EPA's website.

Governor Kulongoski congratulated EJTF members for their significant accomplishments and expressed his appreciation for former Senator Avel Gordly's leadership in developing Senate Bill 420 in an announcement released by Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Read DEQ's press release.

EJTF member Robin Collin offers remarks at EPA's award ceremony - Watch it on YouTube!
Videos of the award announcement and Ms. Collin's remarks are at YouTube.com/White House Environmental Justice Forum (Parts 1-4)

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's announcement is in Part 1. Go to 0:13:48

Robin Collin's remarks are in Part 3. Go to 1:10:22


EJTF Information

EJTF Past Meetings & Reports 

Governor's Office contact:
Gabriela Goldfarb, Natural Resource Policy Advisor
Office:  503-378-5232

 Environmental Justice Resources