In December 2021, Governor Ned Lamont enacted Executive Order No. 21-3, which established within the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) a Connecticut Equity and Environmental Justice Advisory Council (CEEJAC). CEEJAC serves an advisory role to the DEEP Commissioner. The main goals of CEEJAC include identifying ways to integrate Environmental Justice (EJ) considerations into DEEP’s programs and policies; strengthening DEEP’s relationships with community groups regarding EJ issues; and developing model plans for meaningful community engagement and stakeholder outreach within Environmental Justice communities.
CEEJAC boasts five subcommittees which convene around the following topic areas: Air and Transportation; Energy and Technology; Waste; Water; and Land. CLCC’s Senior Project Specialist, Yaw O. Darko, chairs the land subcommittee which is focused on learning about existing DEEP grant programs (e.g., OSWA, UGCG), providing input on the creation of new grant programs focused on EJ communities (e.g., Urban Forest Equity Grant), identifying barriers to community participation, and providing recommendations to ensure greater inclusion, participation, and equity.
Among the goals of the land subcommittee are identifying strategies for conserving and revitalizing land in urban environments and identifying opportunities to reduce barriers to open space. By having CLCC as a voice on CEEJAC, there exists a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between environmental justice considerations and land conservation efforts. Land trusts working within or near environmental communities are encouraged to tune into CEEJAC meetings.