HUD and EPA Honor Congressman James ClyburnThe Power of Persistence and Partnerships in South Carolina Addresses Environmental Justice
There is much to be said about the power of persistence and partnerships especially when it comes to environmental justice. Recently on the campus of Spartanburg Community College in Spartanburg, South Carolina the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), honored Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) a longstanding champion of environmental justice in a ceremony in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of the Environmental Justice Executive Order.
Prior to the recognition ceremony a tour was conducted of the Awkright and Forest Park neighborhoods and there was a Project Update Forum in which EPA officials Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Heather McTeer Toney, Regional Administrator Southeast Region, and representatives from the business communities provided insight and their experience with the ReGenesis Partnership formed in 2000. ReGenesis Partnership is an organization that was founded to address the local communities of Awkright and Forest Park environmental concerns regarding reducing pollution problems, cleaning up contamination of hazardous waste sites and helping to restore and strengthen economic opportunity for those living in these communities.
"It is indeed an honor to be here today to recognize Congressman Clyburn for his pioneering efforts and longtime commitment to environmental justice that has brought renewed hope and economic prosperity to Spartanburg," said Ed Jennings, Jr, HUD Southeast Regional Administrator. "He has created a multi-agency effort at the federal level and HUD is proud of being a leading partner in that effort."
Through the continued leadership of Congressman Clyburn with federal, state, local and private sector partners more than $250 million was leveraged towards addressing environmental issues while also improving economic development in these communities. From 2012-2014 HUD has provided over $84 million in Community Block Grant funds, HOME Funds, and Public Housing funds such as Choice Neighborhood Planning Grant and related public housing funding.
In 1999, on a national level the Congressional Black Caucus convened the first Environmental Justice Braintrust at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Legislative Conference. Established under the leadership of Congressman Clyburn, the Braintrust brought together a diverse range of environmental experts, policy makers, medical professionals and officials, and community activists to discuss issues related to environmental justice, including public health and economic development.
An outgrowth of the Braintrust, the National Environmental Policy Commission (NEPC), issues an Environmental Justice Report each year. The report offers important recommendations to Congress about what can be done to advance environmental justice in the United States. According to Congressman Clyburn, "This Commission was created out of the need to develop a comprehensive national environmental justice policy that fosters the protection of human health and the environment, and ensures environmental justice while promoting economic development."
|Content Archived: August 18, 2016|