You Can Help Make Better Government Policies

By Victoria Robinson

As the designated federal officer for the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), I’m happy to announce that EPA is inviting nominations to be considered for appointment to the NEJAC, a federal advisory committee.

Congress passed the Federal Advisory Committee Act in recognition of the fact that federal agencies benefit significantly when they receive advice from voices outside of the government. EPA established the NEJAC in 1993 to provide independent and timely advice and recommendations to EPA about integrating environmental justice into the agency’s work. Through meeting with the public and consolidating advice from members who represent a broad range of viewpoints, the NEJAC provides recommendations that incorporate community and other stakeholder perspectives and helps the government do a better job of considering environmental justice in the agency’s everyday activities.

While each member may bring a different perspective to committee meetings, the one thing all NEJAC members share is a passion for environmental justice.  They each want to make a difference in their communities and in other communities across the country. Through their work on the NEJAC these individuals have been instrumental in formulating nearly 700 recommendations to EPA about a wide variety of major public policy issues. For instance, NEJAC recommendations have influenced a variety of EPA’s programs and policies, including the Brownfields program, permitting processes,  consultation with tribes and interactions with indigenous communities, and monitoring of air toxics around our nation’s schools. That is why I am always excited to welcome new leaders onto the NEJAC, because I know that they will bring the energy and ideas necessary to keep building upon these important efforts.

The NEJAC is made up of approximately 26 members who are appointed from a broad spectrum of stakeholders representing community-based groups, business and industry, academic and educational institutions, state and local governments, indigenous organizations and federally-recognized tribal governments, and non-governmental and environmental groups. Within each of these sectors, members that can offer technical perspectives on subjects such as  public health, climate change adaptation, environmental financing, equitable development, and community sustainability, are sought that reflect the issues and subjects currently being evaluated by the NEJAC.

You can submit your application for membership to the NEJAC by downloading this electronic form and following the instructions to submit your application. In order to fill the anticipated vacancies by May 2012, nominations should be received by February 20, 2012. For additional details regarding the nomination process and to learn more about the NEJAC, please visit justice/NEJAC/index.html, or call the EPA Office of Environmental Justice at (202) 564-2515.

Consider the NEJAC – it might be a perfect fit.

About the author: Victoria Robinson is the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) for the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), a federal advisory committee. Since 2003, she has been responsible for the day-to-day management of the NEJAC, managing the committee in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

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