Environmental “Justice” for Some, Not for All, Courtesy PA DEP

If you live in Pennsylvania and you live in a community where at least 20% of the people are below the poverty line, or if the community is composed of at least 30% minorities, you now have an important new weapon to oppose shale drilling, courtesy the PennFuture Secretary of the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP), John Quigley. Apparently the laws and regulations on the books that apply to everyone else are not good enough for po’ folk or black folk and you need extra special laws and regulations not available to others–so Quigley has “reactivated” the Office of Environmental Justice at the DEP to give you a voice that apparently you had lost. You may recall Quigley recently began talking about “establishing” such a department–only to embarrassingly learn his agency already has such a department (see Quigley Faux Pas: DEP Already has Office of Environmental Justice). With the help of mainstream media, Quigley pivoted to cover his faux pas (see Quigley Changes Story, “Reactivating” Enviro Justice Office at DEP). “Environmental Justice” is now officially reactivated at the DEP, complete with a new hire, an African-American lawyer from (yes) Philadelphia, violating the current state ban on new hiring until a budget is in place. Oh, and if you’re not poor or a minority (i.e. you’re working class or white collar)? No special favoritism for you. You get ordinary/regular environmental “justice”…

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