COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is looking for public feedback on the third draft of recommendations from the Environmental Justice Action Task Force.
The Colorado Environmental Justice Act was signed by Governor Jared Polis in July of 2021. The goal is to reduce environmental health disparities in disproportionately impacted communities. The bill created new roles to help with environmental justice, an Environmental Justice Advisory Board, an Environmental Justice Action Task Force and an Environmental Justice Ombudsperson.
CDPHE is asking community members for their help in determining:
- The definition of “disproportionately impacted communities,” which will impact future resources available to communities. As of now, ‘disproportionately impacted communities’ refer to communities that have a heavier burden of negative health impacts due to systemic barriers to health and wellness.
- How agencies should engage with disproportionately impacted communities across Colorado.
- How agencies should consider equity and the cumulative impacts when making decisions that affect environmental health. Cumulative impacts are the combination of pollution in the air, water and soil. This can also include other impacts to health, such as access to fresh food and green spaces to exercise.
- How agencies can make data about environmental health risks more transparent to Coloradans living in communities disproportionately impacted by pollution and climate change.
“The true experts in environmental justice are those most impacted by pollution and climate change, and we need to hear from you,” said Joel Minor, Environmental Justice Program Manager at CDPHE. “Ensuring that a large and diverse group of Coloradans engage in the Environmental Justice Action Task Force’s decision-making process is essential to shaping meaningful changes so all Coloradans have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.”
The Task Force’s full draft recommendations can be found online. The deadline for feedback is October 14, the group will hold a final meeting in early November. Final recommendations will be sent to the legislature, governor and CDPHE by November 14.
CDPHE said that ideas and feedback can be shared with the Task Force in English, Spanish, or any other language by:
- Fill out this survey to share your ideas about some key questions.
- Download and edit the Word document of the draft recommendations available here and send edits to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Send written comments to email@example.com.
- Attend a small group conversation in Commerce City or Pueblo to discuss the draft recommendations with CDPHE staff in September.