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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

NC to tackle pollution disparities with Environmental Justice Council

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Monday, February 19, 2024   

North Carolina is taking action to address environmental injustice, specifically targeting areas disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change.

Gov. Roy Cooper signed Executive Order 292 to establish an Environmental Justice Advisory Council, made up of 11 people from state agencies and 11 appointed by the governor. The council recently met for its first meeting. Together, they are actively working toward reducing environmental harm.

Daisha Wall, community science manager for the group CleanAIRE NC and a member of the council, sees it as an opportunity for collaboration and improving outcomes for affected communities.

"It's really important for all these agencies to have a seat at the table so they can take an introspective look into how their practices and policies can have the potential to impact or lift up these communities," Wall asserted. "Whether that's reversing the harm or adding to the positive impact that they may already have."

She pointed out one way the council is pursuing environmental justice is by setting goals for each state agency. Each agency will need to come up with a minimum of three environmental justice goals and measurable outcomes. The goals will be open for formal public comment. Wall explained the council builds upon a movement started in 1982 in Warren County, opposing a hazardous landfill.

Wall believes the council will not only help communities but educate them. In addition, the Department of Information is planning to build a mapping tool to provide resources and information to communities.

"That hub will host a mapping tool, which will show where pollution sources are, along with other data like climate stressors, health data--just other environmental justice indicators and other indicators within communities to show where stressors might be or where people might be impacted," Wall noted.

This work includes collaborating with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to study effects within the state. The council is striving to use federal funds to assist underserved areas. Wall hopes the initiatives can provide a foundation for other regions seeking to improve the quality of life in environmental justice communities.

Disclosure: CleanAIRE NC contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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