Environmental Justice Listening Sessions and Leadership in Environmental Action Pilot Initiative

Location: South Carolina | Client: EPA Region 4 | Project Date: March 2012 – November 2012

Project Images

Links and Resources

A Sustainability Workbook for Environmental Justice Communities

A Sustainability Workbook for Environmental Justice Communities Appendices

2009 Listening Sessions Summary Report

Project Description

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and the South Carolina Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (SCEJAC) sought to build on the success of ReGenesis Incorporated’s community revitalization success in Spartanburg, SC by hosting a series of four listening sessions across the state in 2009. Listening sessions were held in the cities of North Charleston, Spartanburg, Aiken, and Florence to solicit input from community stakeholders on Environmental Justice (EJ) concerns. Participants were asked to provide a vision for revitalization that encompassed elements such as health care, business development and affordable housing. Over 150 representatives from a wide range of public, private and community organizations participated. With funding from EPA Region 4, Skeo assisted in this process by:

  • Developing the questions used at each session.
  • Attending, writing up comments, and developing summary reports for each session.
  • Analyzing over 3,000 comments collected from community members during the sessions.
  • Developing a state agency resource guide for revitalization.

In January 2010, the final report from the sessions was submitted to the State Legislature and Governor. After reviewing the report, the Legislature gave its full support to SCEJAC and SCDHEC. SCDHEC then entered into a Cooperative Agreement with EPA, that included awarding $100,000 to four community organizations selected to participate in the Leaders in Environmental Action Pilot (LEAP) initiative.

Skeo staff facilitated the multi-year Leaders in Environmental Action Pilots (LEAP) capacity building initiative for the four environmental justice organizations selected through an RFP process. The effort focused on building grassroots organizational capacity to undertake local community revitalization efforts, lead environmental restoration efforts, and learn how to build multi-stakeholder efforts using collaborative problem-solving tools. Skeo staff facilitated small group meetings, annual gatherings, and a Summit meeting with other government and academic resource partners. Skeo also developed a workbook to capture lessons learned in community visioning and planning for economic revitalization.

In December 2010, SCDHEC and EPA Region 4 hosted the LEAP Summit in Aiken, South Carolina. Skeo assisted in the design and facilitation of this Summit meeting designed to provide a forum for the selected organizations to engage in a dialogue with government agencies, non-profit organizations and academia and to familiarize themselves with available potential resources to support their projects.