Letter from our President and CEO:
In January, I was very excited to be invited to join the Environmental Justice Work Group formed by Governor Snyder. My entire career since the early ’90s has been dedicated to finding ways to advance environmental justice here and across the country. Michigan has been a national leader in research and policy development in environmental justice since 1990.
Cities like Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, and Kalamazoo are in urgent need of transformation and innovation around environmental protections. It’s very unfortunate that the Governor’s initiative was spurred on by a tragic situation around water quality. However, this is a wonderful opportunity to regain momentum on a systemic level. In 2009, a similar work group created an environmental justice plan that has never been implemented. Myself and others in the environmental justice community are hopeful we can build on parts of that work today.
There is, however, one concern I have regarding the recent announcement of the Environmental Justice Work Group composition. The state has not created it in accordance with the Principles of Environmental Justice nor has it created it with balanced voices that will enable the conversation to be heard. As a result, myself and my two other colleagues from the movement who have been appointed to the work group—Dr. Paul Mohai and Dr. Kyle Powys Whyte—recently wrote to the governor expressing our concerns.
You can find our letter here.
I encourage you to express your support for a well-balanced work group to the Governor as well.