Last week, the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) hosted a delegation from U.S. EPA headquarters at its main offices in Columbia for a daylong meeting to discuss advancing a culture at the DHEC of equity and justice consideration in operations and activities. Participants from ECOS and U.S. EPA Region IV joined the meeting via conference call.
During the discussion, DHEC Director of Environmental Affairs Myra Reece, who serves as ECOS Region IV Executive Committee Representative, joined her staff in sharing the agency’s integration into its work of community involvement, environmental justice, and community revitalization. DHEC plans to begin documenting the lessons learned from its experiences over the next year to advance progress and share this progress with others. Reece is a member of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), founded in 1993 to provide advice and recommendations regarding broad, cross-cutting issues related to environmental justice from stakeholders to U.S. EPA.
Notably, the South Carolina State House of Representatives has passed a resolution recognizing the justice work of EPA Deputy Associate Assistant Administrator for Environmental Justice Charles Lee.
This is the second meeting of this type. In December 2016, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) hosted a similar delegation from U.S. EPA headquarters and Region V to discuss how MPCA is working to advance environmental equity. These opportunities directly align with Commissioner Stine’s efforts to advance equity at all levels during his tenure as ECOS President. ECOS looks forward to continuing its work Stine, Reece, Lee, and other state and EPA leaders in this area.