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TO CREATE A MULTI-AGENCY ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO THE SOUTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL TO PROMOTE ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IN THIS STATE.
Whereas, this State is committed to affording the citizens of this State fair treatment and meaningful involvement in the development, implementation, and enforcement of an environmental law, regulation, or policy regardless of the citizen's race, color, ethnicity, religion, income, or education level; and
Whereas, this State is further committed to promoting the protection of human health and the environment, empowerment through public involvement in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental law, regulation, and policy, and the dissemination of information related to the environment to inform and educate the citizens of this State; and
Whereas, environmental justice issues exist in this State and cause concern and problems for some communities that bear the impact of air and water contamination, noise, population crowding, reduced quality of life, and depressed land and housing values, many of which could be mitigated by better siting decisions and processes; and
Whereas, the cumulative impact of multiple sources of exposure to environmental hazards in these communities, and the roles of multiple agencies in addressing a cause or factor that compromises environmental health and quality of life in these communities require an interagency response; and
Whereas, the federal government has underscored the importance of Environmental Justice in Executive Order 12898 by creating the National Environmental Justice Advisor Council to integrate environmental justice into federal policies, programs, initiatives and activities. Now, therefore,
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. (A) There is created an advisory committee to the department named the South Carolina Environmental Justice Advisory Committee, which must at least include a designee from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Education, Department of Health and Environmental Control, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Department of Public Safety, Department of Transportation, South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, and the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health.
(B) As used in this title, 'environmental justice' means the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of a person regardless of his race, color, ethnicity, gender, religion, income, or education level with respect to the development, implementation, or enforcement of a law, regulation, or policy that impact the person's environmental health.
(C) The department is the lead agency of the advisory committee, and may adopt a policy needed to carry out a provision of this section.
(D) The advisory committee:
(1) shall serve as an advisory body for the purpose of making a recommendation to an agency of this State regarding an action that should be taken to address an environmental justice issue consistent with existing statutory and regulatory authority;
(2) shall review annually a program or policy of an agency of this State designed to promote the protection of human health and the environment to ensure implementation and dissemination of information by the program, and to evaluate the impact the program or policy has on environmental justice in this State;
(3) shall promote public awareness of public health and environmental information in a language other than English to ensure that information disseminated to the public by the department is available in another language as considered necessary by the advisory committee;
(4) shall develop a policy and procedure for a community to use an existing and legally mandated notice procedure to request the advisory committee to address an environmental justice issue faced by the community;
(5) may consult with an agency of this State to address an environmental justice issue arising in this State;
(6) may expand its membership to include another agency of this State or a stakeholder group to address an environmental justice issue arising in this State; and
(7) must annually meet no later than March thirty-first, and must annually report its accomplishments to the Office of the Governor and the General Assembly no later than December thirty-first.
(8) The South Carolina Environmental Justice Advisory Committee shall exist until January 1, 2010, and may be continued for additional periods as the General Assembly provides by law.
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
This web page was last updated on Monday, June 22, 2009 at 2:46 P.M.