video town hall

Discussing the Discussion

My job provides a lot of opportunities to meet with people face-to-face. I’ve met with environmental justice advocates in New Orleans, mayors affected by auto sector closures in the Midwest, and tribal representatives in Montana, just to name a few. It’s all part of Administrator Jackson’s directive to expand the conversation on environmentalism. But no matter how much I travel, no matter how many people I meet, it’s impossible for me to meet in person with everyone who wants to talk to me. That’s why I’m excited that technology is making it possible for anyone in the county to participate in the conversation about the environment.

My office held our second Video Town Hall two weeks ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion. The session covered two topics: reducing your carbon footprint through reducing, reusing, and recycling, and EPA’s recent decision to conduct an environmental justice analysis of the definition of the solid waste rule. We had an excellent conversation. We answered a question from a man in California who wanted to see us do more to promote energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs, and one from a Minnesota woman who wanted to build an environmentally-friendly house. A Brooklyn non-profit wanted to know how we balance our focus on environmental justice with preserving industrial jobs and the tax base in urban areas. These are just a few examples, and you can watch the whole session on our Video Town Hall page.

As was the case with our first Video Town Hall, we were able to answer every question we received on the topics we were discussing. That’s gratifying to me. Anyone who had an internet connection or a phone could ask me a question. That didn’t used to be possible, and I’m glad that technology is enabling people outside of Washington to speak directly with their government.

We plan to hold more Video Town Halls in the near future. Check our Video Town Hall page for future sessions.

About the author: Mathy Stanislaus is EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.
This blog is part of an ongoing series about the EPA’s efforts toward the Open Government Directive that lays out the Obama Administration’s commitment to Open Government and the principles of transparency, participation and collaboration.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Video Town Hall

An Inside Job

It wasn’t too long ago that I was working to improve human health and the environment from outside the government. Only a year ago, I was working with communities to redevelop properties at brownfield sites. When you’re outside the government, gaining access to the government officials who make decisions that affect your work can be a challenge. Now that I’m in the government, I have a chance to provide the access that’s so important to people and groups with environmental concerns. That’s why I’ve started a series of Video Town Hall discussions that will help me hear what you have to say.

Our first Video Town Hall was held in December, and I was very happy with the discussion that took place. The topic was the Superfund program, and we fielded questions from people and groups across the country. Our plan was to answer as many questions as time allowed, and I was pleased that we were able to answer every single question that we received.

Our next Video Town Hall will be held on February 23 from 1:30-3:00 PM Eastern Time. For this Town Hall, we plan to cover two topics.

First, we want to talk about how people and businesses can reduce their carbon footprint through reducing, reusing, and recycling. We all know that climate change is one of the great challenges facing our nation. Any effective strategy to fight climate change will require that we rethink the way that we buy new products and dispose of old products. I want to know how you’re fighting climate change through materials management, and what my office can do to help you reduce your carbon footprint.

The second topic is EPA’s upcoming environmental justice analysis of the Definition of Solid Waste Rule. We recently began seeking input on our draft plan, and we’d like to know what you think.

There are two ways to participate in the Town Hall: over the internet or by phone. You can send questions to townhallquestions@epa.gov before or during the discussion, and we’ll also take a few questions from the phone toward the end of the call. All the information you need to participate is available on our Video Town Hall page.

I know that people outside of the government have important things to say about the environment; they just need someone to listen. Now that I’m the guy on the inside, that’s what I intend to do.

About the author: Mathy Stanislaus is EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.