The following activities address the importance of targeting resources to overburdened communities, highlighting agency efforts to identify, modify, and align resources so the Department can better serve the needs of its communities.
Technical Support and Resources Regarding Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
DOE provides technical support and resources regarding sustainability, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and weatherization to the Morgan Community Mile (MCM) initiative. One of the initiative’s goals is to engage with community residents and officials in the use of knowledge derived from faculty and student research, the sharing of mutually beneficial resources, and the appropriate and timely dispatch of university experts and professionals to collaborate in addressing community concerns. The initiative is a collaborative effort that includes partners and stakeholders from federal agencies, private industry, community organizations, Coppin State University, and local and state governments.
The MCM’s goal is to partner with Northeast Baltimore, Maryland, neighborhoods, private, public, and nonprofit sectors to utilize the university’s research and knowledge for the betterment of both partners. This initiative fully engages community stakeholders, university students, faculty, and staff in an inclusive, democratic, and participatory process that results in mutually defined community plans, projects, measurable outcomes, and positive community impact.
The MCM came into existence through an extensive, collaborative effort between the university and the surrounding communities and neighborhoods. The MCM catchment area covers 12.2 square miles over Northeast Baltimore. It is made up of the nine (of 55) community statistical areas that are within a 1-mile radius around the university, where there are approximately 114,000 residents living in 56 neighborhood communities. The specific community organizations that have been part of the entire process of the development of the MCM initiative (and remain as part of the MCM Board) are: Belair Edison Neighborhoods, Inc.; Coldstream Homestead Montebello Community Corporation; Harbel Community Organization; Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street; Northeast Community Organization; and the North East Development Alliance. Through an ongoing and interactive process, community leaders and residents alongside university faculty, students, and staff discuss shared interests and challenges.
Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Program
DOE is committed to protecting fish and wildlife species and improving research and data collection methods related to the Columbia Basin ecosystem, which is home to many minority populations and low-income populations, American Indian Tribes, and Alaskan Natives. The fish and wildlife program include extensive funding for habitat protection and restoration to support federally protected salmon and steelhead trout. Some of this work is implemented by federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Natives through the 10-year funding agreements known as the Columbia Basin Fish Accords.
In 2018, the Columbia River Basin tribes were allocated $135 million in capital and expense funds to assist in meeting its fish and wildlife obligations. Funding supports jobs for tribal members and others in rural areas that have historically high unemployment rates.
Arizona State University (ASU) Technical Assistance to EJ Communities Project
The DOE EJ Program is aiding a group of interdisciplinary researchers (engineers, planners, and social scientists) from ASU to develop a strategy to implement the “Technical Assistance to EJ Communities Project,” called Project Confluence. The project is led by ASU and was introduced during the 2018 NEJC. ASU’s partner representatives are the DOE EJ Program, Tennessee State University, Savannah State University (SSU), Howard University, Hampton University, The Moore Company, and Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). Additional agencies, including Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are in the process of collaborating. The research is intended to inform broad-based engagement between EJ communities and technical experts to help DOE achieve its strategic EJ implementation goals related to minimizing impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities and fully implementing EO 12898 and Goals 1 and 3 of the 2017 DOE Environmental Justice Strategy. Next steps are to dialogue on how to incorporate commitments into DOE’s Second Five-Year Environmental Justice Implementation Plan. In 2018, ASU has made the following progress:
- Reached out to nearly 100 community groups across 35 states.
- Planned and conducted a survey targeted towards engineers, scientists, and technical experts on the incentives and barriers in doing justice-oriented technical work, and to understand what they can bring to the table to do this kind of work.
- Started engaging with engineering firms in the Phoenix area and presenting to them about Project Confluence and how they can help.
- Made a presentation of Project Confluence to a group of federal policy makers at the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), as well as philanthropists and environmental lawyers.
Allen University Environmental Justice Institute, Columbia, South Carolina
This institute seeks to create partnerships to build, train, educate, and sustain environmentally healthy communities. This EJ institute is a community sustainable resource center for rural and economically challenged minority populations and low-income populations around DOE’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, South Carolina, and communities in the state of Georgia. To achieve the goals of the institute, Allen University and the MUSC conduct a series of CLIs and Technical Assistance Workshops throughout South Carolina and Georgia.
The major focus of this collaboration is to work with communities on EJ issues with an emphasis on youth development. The overall goal of the institute is to reduce the burden of health disparities related to EJ issues.
The goal of the project is to promote environmental, sustainable, healthy communities by enabling them to address the burden of EJ stressors through strategic partnerships and programs.
Clinch River Environmental Studies Organization (CRESO)
DOE funds an annual grant with CRESO, a local organization that promotes environmental literacy in middle school, high school, and undergraduate students through field research and learning experiences.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
In 2018, DOE developed strategic priorities, with a goal of increasing efforts to provide technical assistance related to external civil rights, including Title VI, to DOE program.