How Maine is Addressing Environmental Justice
- How Does Maine Define Environmental Justice and Environmental Justice Communities?
- How Does Maine Consider Environmental Justice in its Substantive Actions?
- How Does Maine Address Environmental Justice in its Procedures?
- Additional Maine Environmental Justice Provisions
- Maine Environmental Justice Contacts
- Where to Find Maine Environmental Justice Laws, Policies, and Tools
(with full citations) All States & Territories
How Does Maine Define Environmental Justice and Environmental Justice Communities?
Environmental Justice Definitions
Statute defines “Environmental justice” as “ … 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, rules, regulations and policies.”
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations define environmental justice as “the right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment regardless of ancestry, class, disability, ethnicity, income, national origin, or religion. environmental justice includes the equal protection and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of waste management laws, regulations, and licensing decisions.”
Environmental Justice Mapping Tools
Maine GeoLibrary is a comprehensive catalogue that offers many layerable filters that may be useful for EJ policymakers in the state. Categories of filters include farming, biota, boundaries, environment, health, society, climatology, meteorology, atmosphere, economy, and more.
How Does Maine Consider Environmental Justice in its Substantive Actions?
Environmental Justice as a Policy of the Environmental Agency or Across All Agencies
Consideration of Environmental Justice in Permitting
Maine statutes require a public benefit determination before an applicant may submit an application for a license for a new or expanded solid waste disposal facility. In 2021, Maine DEP adopted regulations incorporating into the public benefit determination a requirement for a finding that the proposed facility is “not inconsistent with ensuring environmental justice for the community in which the facility is proposed.”
Consideration of Environmental Justice in Enforcement
Consideration of Environmental Justice in Land Use
State Environmental Policy Act “Mini-NEPA”
Dedicated Funding to Environmental Justice Communities
Consideration of Cumulative Impacts
Prohibitions on Disparate Impact Discrimination
Established Environmental Rights
How Does Maine Address Environmental Justice in its Procedures?
Environmental Justice as Part of Environmental Agency’s Mission
Environmental Justice as Part of Other Agency’s Mission
Processes and Procedures (including Title VI)
The Maine DEP website includes a notice of nondiscrimination pursuant to Title VI, other federal laws, and the Maine Human Rights Act, 5 M.R.S. § 4551 et seq. The site states that the DEP will designate at least one employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities listed above.
Enhanced Public Participation and Information Access
Consultation with Indigenous Communities and Tribal Nations
Governmental Environmental Justice Structures, Positions, and Funding Streams
Environmental Justice Coordinating Agency
Environmental Justice Coordinator
Environmental Justice Advisory Board
Funding for Environmental Justice
Additional Maine Environmental Justice Provisions
In 2019, the Maine legislature created the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous and Maine Tribal Populations (Commission). The Commission seeks to “promote, implement and coordinate programs that create and improve opportunities and incorporate the goal of eliminating disparities for historically disadvantaged racial, indigenous and tribal populations in Maine.” Membership on the Commission includes a representative from each of the federally recognized Indian tribes in the State and other specific appointments.
In June 2020, Maine’s governor dedicated $50,000 from the Governor’s Contingent Account to support to work of the Commission with the goal of helping understand racial disparities in the state and how to best address them. The Governor also called on the Legislature to provide a sustained annual source of funding for the Commission to be able to continue its work.
Maine Environmental Justice Contacts
Amanda Beckwith, IPMA-SCP
Human Resources Director – Natural Resources Service Center
Department of Administrative and Financial Services
155 State House Station – Augusta, Maine 04333-0155
Phone: (207) 624-6391
Fax: (207) 287-2216
Where to Find Maine Environmental Justice Laws, Policies, and Tools
Legislation and Statutes
- 5 M.R.S. §12004-I, sub-§74-J
- Maine S.P. 426 – L.D. 1263 (2017) (funds to increase the affordability of water treatment filtration systems for households with contaminated private drinking water wells and household incomes no greater than 120% of the area median income).
- 06-096-400 Me. Code R. §§ 1 & 5