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Environmental Justice Advisory Group: Description

Approved: September 12, 2005

1. Advisory Group's Official Designation (Title):

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Environmental Justice Advisory Group (Advisory Group)

2. Authority

The Advisory Group comprises volunteer members appointed by the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation to advise the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on matters related to Environmental Justice. This group was established in January 2000 and continues to serve DEC pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law §3-0301.2.d(4).

3. DEC Environmental Justice Policy

Environmental justice means the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. It is the policy of the Department to promote environmental justice and incorporate measures for achieving environmental justice into its programs, policies, regulations, legislative proposals and activities.

4. Scope of Activities:

The Advisory Group shall provide independent advice and recommendations to DEC on matters relating to environmental justice, including the integration of environmental justice principles into DEC's programs, policies, regulations, legislative proposals and activities. The role of the Advisory Group is solely advisory in nature.

5. Official to Whom the Advisory Group Reports:

The Advisory Group will report to the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation via the Commissioner's designated representative, the DEC Environmental Justice Coordinator.

6. Chair of the Advisory Group:

The DEC Environmental Justice Coordinator will serve as Chair of the Advisory Group.

7. Agency Responsible for Providing Support:

DEC will be responsible for financial and administrative support. DEC may supplement financial support from external sources including the legislature, federal agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other sources. Financial support includes: operational expenses; reimbursement for members' travel and per diem expenses when determined necessary and appropriate.

8. Estimated Number and Frequency of Meetings:

The Advisory Group expects to meet a minimum of four (4) times a year. Meetings may occur approximately once every three (3) months or as needed and approved by DEC.

9. Duration and Termination:

The Advisory Group will be evaluated annually and will exist until the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation determines the Advisory Group is no longer needed.

10. Membership

a. Composition: The Advisory Group will comprise approximately 20 members. Members will be selected from among, but are not limited to: community-based groups; industry and business; academic and educational institutions; Federal, State and local governments, State recognized Tribes and Indigenous groups, and non-governmental environmental groups.

b. Duration: Members will be appointed for a term of one to three years and may be reappointed by DEC.

c. Substitutes: An Advisory Group member may designate one individual, other than a current member, as his/her substitute with full Advisory Group member rights to represent that member when he or she is unable to attend an Advisory Group meeting. Individuals nominated to serve as a substitute must be approved by the Department prior to meeting attendance. Participation by substitute must be limited to two (2) meeting per year in order to encourage attendance by appointed Advisory Group member.

d. Termination: If a member leaves the Advisory Group for any reason, efforts will be made by DEC to replace the member with a person who represents similar interests.

11. Advisors

Individuals with expertise deemed relevant to environmental justice may be invited to participate in meetings as Advisors, including representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, staff from DEC and others as appropriate and approved by the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation. Advisors will not have voting rights.

12. Steering Committee and Subcommittees:

The DEC Environmental Justice Coordinator may form a steering committee or subcommittee for any purpose consistent with the objectives and purpose of the Advisory Group. Such committees should consult the Advisory Group regarding decisions or recommendations made to DEC.

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