As one agency within the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, MassDEP helps carry out the Commonwealth’s Environmental Justice goals.

The Environmental Justice Executive Order No. 552 requires Secretariats to take action in promoting environmental justice. The Executive Order requires new environmental justice strategies that promote positive impacts in environmental justice communities and focus on several environmental justice initiatives. The Executive Order helps to promote the Environmental Justice Policy signed in 2002 and incorporated into the agencies that were in the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. Environmental Justice is based on the principle that all people have a right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment. Environmental justice is the equal protection and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies, and the equitable distribution of environmental benefits. 

Environmental Justice Executive Order
Environmental Justice Policy
Environmental Justice Communities
Environmental Justice Programs and Activities
Project Highlights
Translation Services
Laws & Executive Orders

Environmental Justice Executive order

Environmental Justice Executive Order No. 552 links to PDF file

On Tuesday, November 25, 2014, an Executive Order requiring Secretariats to take action in promoting environmental justice was signed. The Executive Order requires new environmental justice strategies that promote positive impacts in environmental justice communities and focus on several environmental justice initiatives.

The Executive Order requires the following actions:

  • The establishment of a Governor’s Advisory Council to advise the Governor and Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary on Environmental Justice Issues.
  • EEA is required to update its 2002 Environmental Justice Policy within 60 days.
  • Each Secretariat is required to appoint a Secretariat Environmental Justice Coordinator within 30 days. The Coordinator shall review Secretariat programs to determine which programs implicate Environmental Justice issues.
  • Secretariats are required to post their Environmental Justice strategies online within 180 days.
  • The Director of Environmental Justice is required to periodically convene the Secretariat Coordinators to meet as the Interagency Environmental Justice Coordinating Group.

Environmental Justice Policy

The Commonwealth's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) established an Environmental Justice Policy to help address the disproportionate share of environmental burdens experienced by lower-income people and communities of color who, at the same time, often lack environmental assets in their neighborhoods. The policy is designed to help ensure their protection from environmental pollution as well as promote community involvement in planning and environmental decision-making to maintain and/or enhance the environmental quality of their neighborhoods.

Through its agencies and programs, EEA works to engage environmental justice populations in environmental decision-making through expanded and inclusive outreach, to minimize health risks through targeted environmental enforcement, and to improve environmental quality in all communities through initiatives that include reduction of pollutants and emissions, remediation and redevelopment of contaminated land, and investment in urban parks and greenspace.

EEA Current Policy:

2017 Environmental Justice Policy  pdf format of 2017 Environmental Justice Policy
file size 1MB

EEA Draft Policy:

The public comment period is now open for EEA’s draft Environmental Justice (EJ) Policy and will run for 45 days, closing on September 21, 2015 at 5:00 PM. Submitted comments will inform EEA’s discussions around finalizing the updated EJ Policy. Learn more...

Policy Fact Sheets:

English pdf format of ej_factsheet_english.pdf
| Spanish pdf format of ej_factsheet_spanish.pdf
| Portuguese pdf format of ej_factsheet_port.pdf
| Chinese pdf format of ej_factsheet_chinese.pdf
| Haitian pdf format of ej_factsheet_haitian.pdf
| Khmer pdf format of ej_factsheet_khmer.pdf
| Vietnamese pdf format of ej_factsheet_viet.pdf
| Russian pdf format of ej_factsheet_russian.pdf

Environmental Justice Communities

In Massachusetts a community is recognized as an Environmental Justice community if any of the following are true:

  • Block group whose annual median household income is equal to or less than 65 percent of the statewide median ($62,072 in 2010); or
  • 25% or more of the residents identifying as minority; or
  • 25% or more of households having no one over the age of 14 who speaks English only or very well - Limited English Proficiency (LEP)

More information on the Environmental Justice communities in Massachusetts can be found at the following links:

MassGIS Data - 2010 U.S. Census - Environmental Justice Populations

Environmental Justice Viewer - MassGIS Interactive Map

Environmental Justice Contacts


Deneen M. Simpson
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
One Winter Street, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA  02108
Phone: 617-292-5906

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Michelle A. Reid
Director of Environmental Justice
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-626-7820

Environmental Justice Project Highlights

MassDEP’s South Framingham Project
As one of the agencies charged with ensuring that the underlying principles of the Commonwealth’s Environmental Justice Policy are met, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s Northeast Regional Office is devoting a portion of its staff in Fiscal Year 2015 to focus on environmental issues in South Framingham, Massachusetts...

2014: A Significant Year for Environmental Justice
In January 2010, Administrator Lisa P. Jackson made Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice an Agency priority. This priority was incorporated into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Strategic Plan for 2011-2015. To implement this priority, EPA developed Plan EJ 2014 as the Agency’s roadmap for integrating environmental justice into its programs, policies, and activities. This priority recognizes that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and EPA’s civil rights program is a critical component in advancing environmental justice.

Springfield Urban Compliance Initiative
In FY13, the MassDEP Western Regional Office completed an Urban Compliance Initiative in the Ward 1 area of Springfield, Massachusetts.  The purpose of the initiative was to focus the resources of MassDEP and its partners to address quality-of-life issues related to environmental conditions.

Environmental Justice Translation Services

MassDEP can offer interpreter and translation services for the following languages:

  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Chinese
  • Vietnamese
  • Russian
  • Khmer
  • Haitian

MassDEP may be able to accommodate additional translation and interpreter services for limited English proficiency (LEP) groups that constitute the lesser of 5% of an Environmental Justice Population Area (minimum of 50 persons) or include 1,000 members.   Please contact the Diversity Office.

Michelle Waters-Ekanem, Director of Diversity,, 617-292-5751

Donald Gomes, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Coordinator,, 617-556-1057

Environmental Justice Laws & Executive Orders

Environmental Justice Executive Order No. 552 links to PDF file
Signed on November 25, 2014.

Environmental Justice Policy
Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs

U.S. Executive Order 12898 links to PDF file
United States Federal Executive Order 12898, "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations" (1994)

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

40 CFR Part 7 - Environmental Protection Agency links to PDF file
40 CFR Part 7 - Nondiscrimination in Programs Receiving Federal Assistance from the Environmental Protection Agency