EPA’s Environmental Justice Advisory Council to hold 1st meeting in Puerto Rico
For the first time in its 30-year history, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), a federal advisory committee to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will meet in Puerto Rico, July 25-27 at the Sheraton Hotel at the Puerto Rico Convention Center.
The NEJAC provides advice and recommendations about broad, cross-cutting issues related to environmental justice and serves as a valuable forum for discussions about integrating environmental justice with other EPA priorities and initiatives.
“EPA is committed to continue to build on the progress since Administrator [Michael] Regan’s visit to Puerto Rico for the Journey to Justice Tour last year. This is why I am so pleased that this year’s NEJAC meeting is being hosted in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to highlight and bring more attention to the many environmental justice issues in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. I encourage people to join us either in person or virtually,” said Lisa F. Garcia, EPA regional administrator.
“The NEJAC provides critical independent advice to help keep EPA accountable to ensuring that everyone gets the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and equal access to the decision-making process,” she said.
The meeting is free and open to the public, and a virtual option will be available for those who cannot attend in person.
Registration is required online by 11:59 p.m. on July 19 or on-site at the Sheraton Hotel during the public meeting.
Registered participants will have an opportunity to provide oral or written comments if they sign up by the start of the public comment session, which begins July 26 at 4 p.m., the agency noted.
That day, there will be a Puerto Rico Community Panel and a USVI Community Panel that will highlight many of the environmental justice challenges faced in the U.S. Caribbean.
Panelists for the Puerto Rico Community Presentations and Panel include: Juan Rosario (AMANESER), Brenda Torres (San Juan Bay Estuary Program), Ruth “Tata” Santiago (Diálogo Ambiental and Queremos Sol), Ingrid Vila (Cambio PR and Generación Circular), Carmen Villanueva (Puerto Rico por el Derecho de una Vivienda Digna), Miriam Matos (Organización Acueductos Comunitarios Non-PRASA), Mario Nuñez (Proyecto ENLACE del Caño Martin Peña) and Lucy Cruz (Group of the 8 Communities of the Caño Martin Peña).
Meanwhile, the USVI Community Panel will be represented by Deanna James (St. Croix Foundation for Community Development), Frandelle Gerard (Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism Inc. (CHANT), and Jennifer Valiulis (St. Croix Environmental Association).