Environmental Justice Improvements Likely to Begin at Local, State Levels
NEW BEDFORD - Environmental justice experts believe the current political climate in Massachusetts makes this a perfect time to embark on positive changes.
Representatives of environmental agencies and activist groups gathered for a forum on future New Bedford cleanup projects at the downtown library Wednesday.
Groups and agencies included the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the City of New Bedford, the Conservation Law Foundation, the Coalition for Buzzards Bay, Citizens Leading Environmental Action (CLEAN) Committee and Boston's Toxic Action Organization.
The meeting's focus was on the Superfund Cleanup of New Bedford Harbor, the Parker Street Dump Site, the cleanup of the former NSTAR/Sprague site on the waterfront and an update on local environmental justice plans.
Veronica Eady, Massachusetts Director of The Conservation Law Foundation, said the greatest chance for improvements to environmental justice is on the state level.
"There hasn't been a comprehensive piece of legislation on environmental justice introduced in many, many years and I think that there is a lot of support for it, at least in the legislature," Eady said.
She added that increased funding for environmental agencies in Governor Charlie Baker's proposed budget will likely benefit "at-risk" communities such as New Bedford.
The conservation law foundation released a report on current New Bedford environmental concerns and recommendations last summer.