Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two Environmental Justice Conferences in April

The U.S. DOE Decided To Break Away From Original EJ Conference

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First there was The State of Environmental Justice in America Conference as the original successor to the 1st & 2nd National Environmental Justice Conferences in 1992 and 2002.  The State of Environmental Justice in America Conference is in its 6th year when it convenes in Washington, DC from  April 3-5, 2012. 

The State of Environmental Justice in America Conference evidently spawned a breakaway conference called The National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program, which is being bankrolled by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).  DOE had been a sponsor of the State of Environmental Justice in America Conferences until it decided to duplicate the original conference.  The DOE conference is one week after the State of Environmental Justice in America Conference.

Both conferences are calling upon representatives from federal and state agencies, local governments, tribes, community groups, businesses small and large as well as public interest groups, academia and other entities to participate. 

The DOE sponsored conference claims in a recent email that it is:
" in its sixth year, reorganized, selected a new conference coordinator and changed the conference name."
The 6th year claim is inaccurate.  It is the first year of the DOE conference.  The original grassroots-sponsored conference is in its 6th year.  The DOE conference can change the conference name and can claim to  have reorganized, but it should not claim in any way that 2012 is the 6th year of the conference.

There is plenty of room for environmental justice conferences.  The more conferences the better.  This vitally important issue needs to get all of the attention it can.  However, a breakaway conference should in no way attempt to take credit for the the hard work put into the previous EJ conferences.

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