US EPA and Other Federal Agencies Connection
EPA's Community Assessment Planning Tool
The EPA's CAPT is intended to help communities articulate their needs, priorities, and vision for their revitalization and stewardship efforts!
Our U.S. Environmental Protection Agency & Other Federal Agencies Connection
In April 2018, Franciscans in Shamokin, PA and the Franciscan Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Ministry invited the US EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights (OEJECR), previously the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ), to partner with the Franciscans and other faith leaders (Shamokin Area Ministerium) and community organizations to address the environmental and public health, as well as the other quality of life needs in Shamokin. US EPA utilized their Community Support Services (CSS) to assist Shamokin in their revitalization efforts. Through engagement in 2018-2020, the first Shamokin Community Rebuilding Workshop was conducted, and plans were created to revitalize the City. EPA’s involvement, led by OEJECR, was reduced due to COVID, however, plans continued, and some assistance was still able to be provided virtually.
In 2022, EPA’s technical assistance work was once again able to include in-person support, which expanded the opportunity to further assist the community. The Agency’s CSS was extended beyond the planned two-year community engagement and support commitment, due to COVID. US EPA staff from OEJECR, in partnership with the Faith Alliance for Revitalization (FAR), and a newly formed Steering Committee, began planning a “Reconvening” Shamokin Community Rebuilding Workshop to further the community revitalization efforts. In February 2023, the Reconvening Workshop was held to reengage the community and their partners to further the community’s efforts to rebuild, enhance growth, and improve the quality of life for all residents in the City and surrounding communities.
EPA Staff from OEJECR is assisting FAR and the community with their efforts to develop the framework necessary for sustained engagement in their community revitalization efforts
Historical Context of FAR and US EPA Engagement
Community Support Services/USEPA Office of Environmental Justice
In 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) initiated its Community Support Services (CSS) to supplement ongoing efforts to revitalize underserved and vulnerable communities. Revitalizing communities not only helps to protect the environment and public health but provides communities the space to create healthy places in which to live, work, learn, and play. Grassroots voices and community leaders are the drivers of the CSS. The goal of CSS is to support communities’ efforts to improve their health, local environment, and quality of life. To assist community partners, CSS has six steps, each with the intention of meeting the community where they are and with what they need. The steps (not necessarily in order) are as follows:
1. Assess Community Needs
2. Identify Options and Priorities
3. Implement the Plan
4. Evaluate Progress
5. Adapt to Changes
6. Sustain Revitalization Progress & Maintain Collaborative Partnerships
The City of Shamokin, PA was selected as a “pilot” for the EPA’s CSS in June 2018.
Interagency Interfaith Collaboration with Vulnerable Communities (IIC)
The Interagency Interfaith Collaboration for Vulnerable Communities (IIC) formed in 2018 to enhance federal collaboration with faith-based leaders and organizations to better address the needs of vulnerable and underserved communities. The IIC recognizes that faith leaders and faith-based organizations play an important, and at times key, role in efforts to address the needs of the vulnerable communities and revitalize communities.
The ICC is operating under the authority of two presidential executive orders: Faith and Opportunity Initiative (FOI) – May 2018 & Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (EO 12898) – February 1994. The FOI, among other things welcomes opportunities for government to partner with faith-based organizations through innovative, measurable, and outcome-driven initiatives; encourages the showcasing of innovative initiatives by faith-based and community organizations that serve and strengthen individuals, families, and communities throughout the United States. EO 12898, among other things, directs federal agencies to identify and address the disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their actions on minority, low-income and tribal/indigenous populations. Federal agencies participating in the IIC include:
Department of Agriculture
Department of Labor
Department of Interior
Department of Justice
Department of Homeland Security
Environmental Protection Agency
General Services Administration