Opinion: Environmental justice is key aspect of climate-change policy

new jersey environment news, climate change

NICKY SHEATS / NJ SPOTLIGHT – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has produced evidence that suggests there are race- and income-based inequalities in our state connected to the amount of pollution in New Jersey neighborhoods. The evidence was yielded by a nascent cumulative-impacts screening tool created by the NJDEP. In this context, cumulative impacts can be thought of as a very rough estimate of the total amount of pollution in a neighborhood.

Data produced by the tool shows that as communities of color grow larger or the number of low-income residents in a neighborhood increases so does the estimated amount of pollution. This unfortunate reality goes against everything the state and nation profess to stand for when it comes to race and income-based justice and explains why there is an environmental justice (EJ) movement in this country …

Nicky Sheats, Ph.D., Esq., is the chair of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance.

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