US EPA and Other Federal Agencies Connection
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 located in Ellicott City, MD invited the USEPA to partner with the Franciscans and other faith leaders and community organizations to address the environmental and public health, as well as the other quality of life, needs in Shamokin.
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