On October 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the appointment of 10 new members to the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC). Established in 1993, the NEJAC provides advice and recommendations about broad, cross-cutting issues related to environmental justice to the EPA administrator.
One of those 10 people is Leticia Colon de Mejias, CEO of Energy Efficiencies Solutions and Policy Co-Chair of the Building Performance Association’s Board of Directors.
Colon de Mejias’ companies have provided energy efficiency assessments and upgrades to over 12,000 Connecticut households and completed full energy efficiency retrofits in over 10 million square feet of multifamily housing. Through her nonprofit Green Eco Warriors, she has provided climate change and energy education to over 30,000 youth and families.
"Climate change impacts are creating duress in Connecticut and across our great nation. The resulting visible changes to the environment impact our economy and human health through increased asthma rates, heat related illness, and rising energy costs,” said Colon de Mejias. “We have an unprecedented opportunity to support the future of equity in our planning, by ensuring a focus on environmental justice, and drawing down energy demands through sensible investments in energy efficiency.”
As a new member of the NEJAC, Colon de Mejias plans to continue her investments in expanded workforce development and infrastructure upgrades. “We seek to connect those who have been historically left behind by engaging our youth and communities in the fight for a brighter, more livable tomorrow,” she says. “With the new assurance that the Nation is ready to invest in expanded efficiency and a clean energy economy, we need to increase science-based education and job opportunities in communities that have been historically left behind.”
The NEJAC’s efforts include the evaluation of a broad range of strategic, scientific, technological, regulatory, community engagement, and economic issues related to environmental justice. Their major objectives are to provide advice and recommendations about EPA efforts to:
- Integrate environmental justice considerations into agency programs, policies, and activities.
- Improve the environment or public health in communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms and risks.
- Address environmental justice by ensuring meaningful involvement in EPA decision-making, building capacity in disproportionately burdened communities, and promoting collaborative problem-solving for issues involving environmental justice.
- Strengthen its partnerships with other governmental agencies, such as other Federal agencies and State, Tribal, or local governments, regarding environmental justice issues.
- Enhance research and assessment approaches related to environmental justice.
These new members are coming to the NEJAC from academia, community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations, state and local governments, and tribal governments. They will serve for an initial one-year term.
The full list of new NEJAC members and their affiliations are as follows:
- Jill Lindsey Harrison, PhD – University of Colorado Boulder
Community Based Organizations
- Leticia Colon de Mejias – Energy Efficiencies Solutions (EES)/ Green ECO Warriors
- Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll, Sr. Green – The Church
- Sofia Owen – Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE)
- Brenda Torres – San Juan Bay Estuary Program
- Andy Kricun – US Water Alliance
Tribal Indigenous Governments and Organizations
- Jonathan Perry – Becenti Chapter
- Scott Clow – Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
State and Local Government
- Charles Bryson – City of St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency
- Felicia Beltran – Arizona Department of Transportation
Learn more about NEJAC here.#news#environment#climate#EPA