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NACWA Board Approves Environmental Justice Statement

August 12, 2021

NACWA’s Board of Directors approved a new environmental justice statement for the Association as part of its meeting in late July.  The document, entitled Environmental Justice in the Water Sector: NACWA Statement of Principles and Recommended Actions on Environmental Justice, was developed by an Environmental Justice Task Force of the NACWA Board and seeks to outline ways in which NACWA and its members can best engage in the growing movement around environmental justice (EJ).

The document seeks to inform how NACWA will incorporate EJ considerations into its advocacy work and the peer-to-peer sharing that it facilities with its members, outlining both short and long term goals in these areas.  It also highlights a series of key principles that will guide NACWA’s work in this space. The principles include:

  • Recognizing the critical role that clean water utilities play in their communities, NACWA will pursue policies and initiatives that acknowledge and support the triple bottom line benefits provided by clean water utilities, especially in underserved communities.
  • The engagement of the clean water sector in EJ issues must be based on the goal of promoting equity. For NACWA, equity is a condition or circumstance of situational fairness achieved by applying differential resources to unequal needs.
  • All individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity or economic status, should have access to reliable and safe clean water at an affordable cost.
  • Historically disadvantaged EJ communities must be given a greater voice in defining what clean water means for them and engage directly with their clean water utility.
  • Different clean water utilities are in different places regarding their engagement on EJ issues. NACWA will leverage is members and broader reach into the public clean water utility sector to foster peer-to-peer sharing of best practices around EJ and develop a more universal commitment from the sector to actively identify and address EJ considerations.

The statement is intended to be a living, iterative document and will be updated regularly with additional feedback from the membership and as thinking on EJ issues evolves.  Members with thoughts or questions can contact Nathan Gardner-Andrews, NACWA’s General Counsel & Chief Advocacy Officer.

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