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Environmental Protection through Public Involvement
DEP’s Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) aims to empower residents and communities who are often outside of the decision-making process of government, address environmental concerns to improve the quality of life in New Jersey’s overburdened communities, and guide state agencies and the DEP’s program areas in incorporating environmental justice.
What is Environmental Justice?
Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
Fair treatment means that no group of people, including a racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic group, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies.
Meaningful involvement means that that public has an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health; the public's contribution can influence the regulatory agency's decision; community concerns will be considered in the decision making process; and decision makers will seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.
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Climate change severely affects overburdened communities. New Jersey is taking bold steps to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change, including specific actions to support clean energy in underserved communities.