East Bay Environmental Justice Forum, Earth Day 2022
Environmental and social justice are driving the framework for increasing equitable outcomes in brownfield revitalization. Generations of injustice have created areas with high levels of environmental degradation and reduced opportunities for remediation of abandoned or contaminated properties. After decades of activists working to provide these areas with opportunities for redevelopment, state and federal governments have taken notice.
California and the Federal Government now mandate environmental justice, and the involvement of disadvantaged communities, within brownfield revitalization. Cities in California must abide by a new mandate to incorporate environmental justice into all General Plan updates (SB1000) and all Federal programs must incorporate the Biden’s Administration Justice40 policy into their programming, grant guidelines, and priorities.
The involvement of disadvantaged communities in driving outcomes for more equitable development is no longer just a best practice- it is now a requirement for brownfield grants. Early integration of community engagement and environmental, and social justice considerations into land-use planning processes can advance the reuse of underutilized and idle land within our communities. Community engagement serves to educate, inform, collaborate, and integrate local feedback at strategic points to enable owners and developers to create and support equitable development scenarios. However, getting started on these programs can be difficult with all the other requirements and needs thrust upon planners.
At the CCLR/Groundworks USA-sponsored East Bay Environmental Justice Forum held on Earth Day, 2022, planners and community development leaders came together to showcase how they are complying with SB1000, as well as the community benefits of doing so. The Forum provided an opportunity for environmental justice activists, state and federal funders, and housing and community development financing organizations to showcase how to involve both community and civic leaders in redevelopment plans.
By collaborating with the community on environmental justice issues, California cities and counties are putting themselves in a good position to take advantage of unprecedented funding available this year (2022-23) for pre-planning, assessment and cleanup of brownfield sites. To further increase the likelihood that attendees would be awarded grants, The East Bay Environmental Justice Forum provided essential information on State mandates on land use planning policy, and a preview of upcoming funding rounds available to cities/counties, tribes and nonprofit organizations for the cleanup and revitalization of brownfields.
To review the recording of the Earth Day 2022 East Bay Environmental Justice Forum, please follow this link or visit CCLR’s Youtube channel (CCLRtv). To review the individual Slide Decks by Panel 1 and Panel 3 presenters, visit the page for the event on CCLR’s website here.