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    Enhancing Communities Through Capacity Building and Technical Assistance

    Addressing Environmental Justice In Uncertain Times

    DAY 1 – October 20, 2020

    9:00 a.m.—9:45 a.m


    Conference Facilitator/Producer
    Ms. Carolyn Sawyer
    Communications Strategist
    Tom Sawyer Company

    Mr. Benjamin F. Wilson, Esq.
    Chairman, Beveridge & Diamond, P.C.
    Chairman, Board of Directors, National Environmental Justice Conference, Inc.

    Dr. Melinda Downing
    Environmental Justice Program Manager
    U.S. Department of Energy

    Mr. Carlos M. Brown, Esquire
    Senior Vice President & General Counsel
    Dominion Energy Services
    Glen Allen, VA

    9:45 a.m.—11:00 a.m.

    PANEL: Educate, Motivate, Innovate: Building the Next Generation of Environmental Justice Leaders (The Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice’s “Educate, Motivate and Innovate (EMI) Environmental Justice Initiative”)

    Joanna Mounce Stancil
    EMI Chair
    USDA Forest Service

    How Can Plants Enhance Our Quality of Life?

    This presentation will explore the wonders of nature by emphasizing the ability of plants to increase air quality and remove contaminants from soil and water. We will explore how planting vegetation could enhance the quality of air, water, and soil in Fort Valley, GA to combat environmental justice issues due to Bluebird bus company.

    Shakeena B. Reeves Senior, Agriculture Economics Fort Valley State University

    Community Led Air Quality Monitoring: Turning Victims into Advocates

    This project is focused on Pleasantville TX where the lack of zoning laws has affected the air quality; mostly of low-income minority families. Through the use of EPA’s EJSCREEN database, variables were selected to show health risks and air toxins in the area at state and national levels.

    Gabriella Mabayyed
    Junior, Biology
    Tennessee State University

    Democratizing Geospatial Technology: A model for Providing Technical Assistance in Community Based Participatory Mapping to Environmental Justice Stakeholder Communities

    This presentation will explore how environmental justice stakeholders themselves are best equipped to produce spatial data visualizations of their communities. The primary goal of this project is the development of a community-based participatory mapping tutorial model, that can be replicated for use by grassroots organizations employing geospatial data visualizations to support their efforts to attain and sustain environmental justice.

    Olivia J. Harbison
    Masters, Geographic Information Systems
    Tennessee State University

    11:00 a.m.—12:30 p.m.

    PANEL: Paving the Way: Diabetes Supplies for Hurricane Relief in Puerto Rico: An innovative, powerful humanitarian approach to assist persons during and after natural disasters.

    This demonstration project is an example of how effective collaboration can work to marshal resources to address critical health needs in a community at no cost to the Federal Government. It complements the emergency assistance provided before, during, and after natural disasters by making resources readily available, which are stored in safe areas for usage as the need arises. This effort serves as a model for other rural communities in areas prone to natural disasters. This panel discussion will convey the authentic relationship between the private and public sectors on their journey to assist persons with diabetes in Puerto Rico still recovering from the 2017 hurricane season in hopes it can shed light on how possible others can duplicate these efforts in the United Sates affected by natural disasters. From this project, genuine lessons were gained, which will be used to measure progress. More importantly, partnerships and high levels of communications in real life content were established, where those involved better understood the necessary cultural sensitivity needed when involved with specific locations and the natural disasters associated, going forward.

    Dr. Kim Lambert
    Co-Chair of Rural Communities Committee (EJIWG)

    Carol Atkinson
    Insulin for Life

    Dr. Lourdes Gonzalez
    Presidencia Colegio de Optometras de P.R.,

    Diana Wahler
    Project Coordinator
    Office of Environmental Justice
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    2:00 p.m.—3:30 p.m.

    PANEL: Federal Government Capacity Building, Training and Technical Assistance for Vulnerable Communities in Natural Disaster Preparedness, Response, and/or Recovery

    This session will provide conference participants with a background on the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice and its Environmental Justice and Natural Disasters Subcommittee and its goals and activities, as well as explore what capacity building, training, technical assistance or other support government agencies (Federal, State, Local, and Tribal) can provide to vulnerable communities in natural disaster preparedness, response, and/or recovery. Panelists will also discuss coordination between Federal government emergency management and EJ offices in supporting at-risk communities related to natural disater preparedness, response, and recovery; and capture model partnerships and alliances between Federal, State, Local, and Tribal government agencies, and local vulnerable communities to help ensure that EJ perspectives and concerns are incorporated into the disaster response and recovery process for all levels of government.

    Joseph “Chip” Hughes, Jr.
    Director, Worker Training Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; and Chair, EJ IWG EJ and Natural Disasters Subcommittee, Research Triangle Park, NC

    Marsha Minter
    Associate Director, Office of Environmental Justice
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

    Matt Campbell
    National Coordinator for the Community Planning and Capacity Building Recovery Support Function
    Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, D.C.

    Dr. Cheryl Levine
    Senior Advisor, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.

    Sharon Beard
    Industrial Hygienist, Worker Training Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
    Research Triangle Park, NC

    DAY 2 – October 21, 2020


    10:00 a.m.—11:30 a.m.

    Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Training

    This session aims to provide participants with a brief overview of Title VI and a more detailed discussion of the requirement to provide meaningful access to persons with limited-English proficiency.

    Title VI Committee
    Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice

    1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.

    Workshop on Environmental Justice and NEPA Methods

    The purpose of the workshop is to increase understanding of opportunities to advance consideration of environmental justice (EJ) in the NEPA review process. The specific focus is the importance of meaningful engagement and involvement with EJ communities particularly now during the social distancing pandemic utilizing virtual tools. The goal is to provide information that provides participants with a better understanding of the interconnection between Environmental Justice (EJ) communities, current health, environmental and economic challenges facing our country from the pandemic. The onset of the pandemic has expedited the need for us to examine and implement different strategies or methods for public engagement based on who you want to reach and engage with and then look to make that connection with the healthcare and social service sectors. Two tools of the NEPA Committee of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ IWG), “Promising Practices for EJ Methodologies in NEPA Reviews” (Promising Practices Report) and the “Community Guide to Environmental Justice and NEPA Methods (Community Guide),” a companion document to the Promises Practices Report will be utilized in this session.

    The workshop is designed to foster collaboration among the Federal family and the public. Ultimately, the workshop will give participants a better knowledge of what practices Federal agencies use to evaluate environmental impacts to minority and low-income populations and how they can be a more effective advocate for their communities with these agencies as they make decisions as we operated in our “new normal” under the “new NEPA” regulations.

    Denise C. Freeman, MS
    Co-chair, NEPA Committee of the EJ IWG
    Senior Advisor
    Environmental Justice Program, Office of Legacy Management
    U.S. Department of Energy

    Carolyn L. Nelson, P.E.
    NEPA Committee of the EJ IWG
    Civil Engineer, Project Development/Environmental Specialist
    Office of Project Development and Environmental Review
    U.S. Department of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration

    Elizabeth Poole, MS
    NEPA Committee of the EJ IWG
    Environmental Scientist
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region V

    B. Suzi Ruhl, JD, MPH
    Immediate Past Co-chair, NEPA Committee of the EJ IWG
    Senior Research Scientist, Elevate Policy Lab
    Assistant Clinical Professor, Yale Child Study Center

    3:00 p.m.—4:30 p.m.

    Using U.S. Department of Energy’s Tools to Meet Low-Income Energy Goals

    Representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will share resources and data that can help state and local governments, non-profits, and utilities build and expand their low- and moderate-income energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives. Participants will learn how DOE’s Low-Income Energy Affordability Data (LEAD) Tool and resources from the Clean Energy for Low-income Communities Accelerator (CELICA) Online Toolkit can be utilized to assess and address energy burden in their communities. Launched in 2019, the LEAD Tool is an online, interactive platform for users to customize charts and maps of household energy data based on income, energy expenditures, energy burden, fuel type, and housing type across the national, state, county, city, or census tract levels. The LEAD Tool was designed to help stakeholders make data-driven decisions by improving their understanding of low- and moderate-income household energy characteristics in the areas they serve. The CELICA Toolkit provides an overview of resources and models for developing low-income energy efficiency and renewable energy programs based on a two-year partnership with over 30 stakeholders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

    Ookie Ma
    Physical Scientist
    U.S. Department of Energy

    Shelby DuPont
    Fellow, U.S. Department of Energy

    4:30 p.m.—4:45 p.m.


    Dr. Melinda Downing
    Environmental Justice Program Manager
    U.S. Department of Energy


    The National Environmental Justice Conference, Inc., prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. Persons who need special accommodations to fully participate in the conference, workshops, or training programs, and persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the Conference Coordinator at 202-827-2224.

    Because of chemical sensitivity of many people, we are requesting that attendees wear unscented toiletry items. Images from this conference may be captured, published and distributed.

    Images of NEJC participants may be captured by conference photographers and published or distributed.


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