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Your Environment. Your Health.

Environmental Justice and Natural Disasters/COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Meetings

WTP Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group Logo, with an image of figures in a field flying a kite

OVERVIEW

The Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice (EJ) EJ and Natural Disaster Subcommittee hosted three virtual Regional Town Hall Meetings in early 2021.

These two-hour virtual Town Hall Meetings focused on three different regions: the Southeast and Caribbean Basin Region (including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands); the Gulf Coast Region; and the West, Southwest, Rocky Mountains, and Plains Regions.

PURPOSE

The purpose of these Town Hall Meetings was to gain a better understanding of how natural disasters and COVID-19 impact minority, low-income, overburdened, and underserved communities, and how the federal government can better provide support to these communities to prepare and respond to their needs before, during, and after natural disasters.  Participants engaged in a discussion on the impacts of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, flooding, wildfire, and COVID-19, on communities, and how the federal government can better support these communities.

DESIRED OUTCOMES

To gather lessons learned and best practices from on the ground voices, as well as identify action steps which the federal government can work on to better assist overburdened and underserved communities. To identify concrete action items, such as specific projects, that the Federal EJ IWG can work on to meet the EJ needs of these communities.

The comments from the Town Hall meetings will be used to prepare a report for the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice, EJ and Natural Disasters Subcommittee, on how the federal government can better address environmental justice as it relates to preparedness for, response to, and recovery after natural disasters, and the implications of COVID-19. This report is due by mid-October 2021.

Additional Comments?

If you would like to submit a comment to include in the notes for this meeting, please send your comments to environmental-justice@epa.gov with the subject line “EJ and Natural Disaster Town Hall.”

DISASTER RESPONSE TRAINING

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Worker Training Program (WTP) hosted virtual disaster response trainings as part of the Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Environmental Justice (EJ) EJ and Natural Disasters Subcommittee Town Hall Meetings. These trainings were offered to interested community members, grassroots organizations, local and state governments, and volunteers in each region.

The trainings were conducted by WTP grantees and aimed to provide a general awareness about how to safely respond to disasters. Participants learned about preparedness, mental health resilience, and response as it related to major themes in their regions.

2021 REGIONAL TOWN HALL MEETING DETAILS & MATERIALS

SOUTHEAST AND CARIBBEAN BASIN REGION

Town Hall Meeting Materials

Disaster Preparedness and Response Training Materials

GULF COAST REGION

Town Hall Meeting Materials

Disaster Preparedness and Response Training Materials

WEST, SOUTHWEST, ROCKY MOUNTAINS, AND PLAINS REGIONS

Town Hall Meeting Materials

Disaster Preparedness and Response Training Materials

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