Humane Society seeking animal fosters – both short and long term | News

The Somerset-Pulaski County Humane Society is looking for foster homes for loving animals – and those potential fosters can choose how long they want to look after their respective dogs and cats.

May is National Pet Foster Care Month, a time to spread the word about the thousands of animals who need homes, whether it be a temporary or permanent arrangement.

Lisa Schultz, a volunteer with the Humane Society (and Commonwealth Journal employee), said the organization has several different programs to help with fostering animals which can be a perfect fit for those who may be concerned about either having to care for an animal long term or those who are afraid to foster an animal because they may get too attached.

The shortest-termed program is something Schultz said was a hoteling program, or one in which someone steps up to take care of an animal for as short as two hours, or as long as 15 days, although Schultz said fosters in that program rarely keep animals the full 15 days.

She said that short commitment to look after a pet comes in handy in cases where there is a long-term foster that would be perfect for the animal, but that person is at work and cannot pick the animal up, or is on vacation or out of town. In some cases, the animal needs to be removed from a terrible situation immediately, and simply looked after for a few hours before they can be picked up.

The second short-term program is called Soft Landings and is reserved for animals which have a loving permanent home, but emergencies have caused the owner to not be able to care for them temporarily.

That could be due to a medical emergency, surgery or car wreck, or might be because they are entering rehab. Or, the family might be preparing to move a long distance away and are traveling back and forth in preparation for that move.

The owner is going to want their pet back when circumstances return to normal, Schultz explained, and therefore the commitment for the foster is for a short time only.

Soft Landings is a maximum 90-day commitment, but fosters may not be required to keep an animal for a full 90 days, Schultz said.

“It’s perfect for teachers,” she said of the program. “It’s only 90 days. If they can get the school administration to allow them to keep, say, a cat in the classroom, they could teach how to properly care for an animal, how to be compassionate to other people who can’t care for their animals right now. The animal could go home with the teacher evenings and weekends, and when the human that animal belonged to got better, the children could see the joy and the gratitude of that person for caring for their animal. “

She also suggested it was good for teachers or college-age students to be involved with over the summer break from school.

A third program may require a commitment that is a bit longer, but it is well suited to those who are age 55 or older.

The Silver Paws for Silver Hearts program is one in which senior humans are paired with senior animals over the age of 7, or animals that are chronically ill.

For example, Schultz talked about one senior dog who, when found, was infested with heart worms.

“Because of his age and the condition of his body when we got him, treatment would have been fatal,” she said. “So, we opted not to treat, but instead to put him in a foster home and let him be loved and cared for, for the rest of his days.”

The Humane Society pays for all veterinary care for the animal, as well as all food, toys and other expenses, for the rest of the animal’s life.

“All the pet parent has to do is provide a loving forever home and make sure they get to vet visits,” Schultz said.

Like with all foster programs, there is an application process where references are checked and suitability is taken into consideration. Schultz said the Humane Society carefully checks potential fosters wanting to help with the Silver Paws program, because they don’t want people who are only looking at it as a way to get a free cat or dog.

“Since its a long-term commitment for us and could potentially be very expensive, we want to make sure they get the best possible care,” she said.

As always, the Humane Society is also looking for those willing to sign up as a long-term foster as well.

“Truly, we have such a need for fosters, because animals get dumped in shelters, they get dumped on the side of the road, and other bad things happen,” she said.

The Humane Society has an immediate need for two “silver hearts waiting for a silver paw” – one each for a dog and a cat, as well as two who are willing to participate in the Soft Landings program – again, one each for a dog and to cat.

Not only would that help out the animals, but it would help fulfill a Humane Society’s goal that might put them in the running for a grant from an organization called Maddie’s Fund.

The local Humane Society is competing for a potential $ 10,000 grant based on the plan that volunteers put together for increasing ways to help animals in this area.

Schultz said she only has a few more days – until the end of May – to try to find those people. While the Humane Society may not have to complete the plan in its entirety to be eligible for the grant, Schultz said the grant competition is based on how well the organization executes its plan – and completing their goal would go a long way towards showing Maddie’s Fund they are serious about their goals.

Schultz said they are competing with around 250 other organizations for the grant.

For those who may be interested in signing up to be an animal foster, Schultz encouraged them to go to the Humane Society’s website,, and click on the Foster / Adopt menu. There will be a link to a foster application there.

Schultz said that applicants can specify which programs they would like to participate in.


Public Health Sudbury reports region’s 150th COVID-19 death

Health Sciences North reports 25 COVID cases in the hospital and four cases in intensive care

Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) has reported there is one new COVID-related death in the city. There have been two deaths this week from the disease. PHSD said the specific cause of death has not yet been determined, but the location of the death was Greater Sudbury. The total local death count going back to March of 2020 now stands at 150.

PHSD also reported there are only 20 newly confirmed COVID cases in the city. There are also six active outbreaks in Sudbury, including two at the hospital.

PHSD reported that 15,805 total accumulated cases have occurred in the Sudbury jurisdiction since the pandemic began. PHSD also reported that 15,574 of those cases have been resolved in the same time period. PHSD said this means there are currently 131 known active cases in the health unit area.

Note: The accuracy of new cases and known cases cannot be confirmed each day because COVID-19 testing is no longer being done for all suspected cases that occur in the community.

More complete details are included on the daily COVID-19 public health summary.

With respect to the possible locations of the newly reported cases, PHSD said 22 new cases were reported to have occurred in the Greater Sudbury area, four new cases were assigned to the rural Sudbury district and five new cases for the Manitoulin district.

PHSD also reported general demographics each day about the age groups for people who are becoming infected.

Epidemiological data showed that the majority of local cases are persons in the 20 to 39 age category with 5,511 total cases (An increase of 12 cases).

The next highest number was 4,182 for the 40-59 age group (An increase of eight).

There were also 2,706 cases for the 19 and under age group (An increase of one).

Seniors in the 60 to 79 age group amounted to 2,296 cases total (An increase of three).

People aged 80 and over are currently the lowest category with 1,101 cases (An increase of seven cases).

In the Not Specified category, there were nine cases (No change).

Notes: The numbers above might not correspond to other numbers being reported because the health unit does not report fresh numbers daily, as they happen. Some of the numbers are delayed.

With respect to COVID-19 testing, PHSD said there have been 431,527 total tests carried out locally since the pandemic began; an increase of 114 since testing was last carried out and reported on Wednesday.

With respect to vaccination numbers, PHSD is now reporting percentages of people vaccinated rather than doses given. The percentage of area residents who are now fully vaccinated translates to 81.8 per cent of all people in the PHSD area.

The Sudbury health unit is reporting a number of outbreaks in the city at several long-term care homes and congregate living homes in the city. There are five active COVID outbreaks as of May 27. More details can be found on the daily COVID summary page. Just scroll to the bottom of the summary page to COVID-19 Outbreaks. It also includes locations where outbreaks have been declared over.

Also, at Sudbury’s Health Sciences North, there were 25 patients with confirmed COVID-19 at the hospital, the hospital website reported Friday. This includes four COVID patients in the intensive care unit. There were nine other patients being investigated (tested) for COVID-19. None were in the ICU. HSN also said there are currently two active outbreaks at the hospital with one outbreak on the fourth floor North Tower as of May 16 and the third floor South Tower as of May 9. Both are being closely monitored, said HSN.

On the provincial COVID-19 roster today, the Ontario government daily website reported 1,096 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases across the province. The province also reported 154 COVID patients are in intensive care units. Also today, the province reported 14 COVID-19 deaths.

New hospice nears completion in Langley

Langley residents in need of end-of-life care will soon have increased options for community hospice closer to home as construction of the new 15-room hospice completes.

“With the opening of the new hospice in Langley, patients in the end stages of their lives and their families will be supported in a specialized, home-like environment designed to support each person’s unique needs,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “We acknowledge and appreciate our ongoing partnerships with the Langley Hospice Society, BC Housing, the BC Center for Palliative Care, the Township of Langley and Fraser Health. Their contributions to the development of this specialized service will help ensure that people requiring hospice care are supported in a peaceful, compassionate setting, surrounded by those they love. “

The hospice, located at 22008, 52nd Ave., will include specialized care spaces and private rooms with outdoor access. Families will have quiet areas to support their loved ones’ needs, such as a spiritual wellness space, kitchen, laundry and bathroom. The new residence will also include the community’s first bariatric room.

Dedicated and specially trained staff from Fraser Health will provide clinical care and services. Emotional and practical support for patients and families will also be provided by Fraser Health staff, together with Langley Hospice staff and volunteers.

The Province, through Fraser Health and BC Housing, is providing $ 5 million toward the hospice. The Langley Hospice Society is providing approximately $ 4 million through community support and donations. The Province, working through the BC Center for Palliative Care, provided $ 900,000, and the Township of Langley is also providing approximately $ 219,000 as a grant to offset municipal charges. Fraser Health will provide operational funding.

The residence will replace the 10 hospice beds at Langley Memorial Hospital campus. The current hospice space will be repurposed to support the health service needs in Langley.

The hospice will open on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.


Megan Dykeman, MLA for Langley East –

“The Langley Hospice plays such an important role in our community, providing a compassionate environment for those needing hospice care or coping with grief. This is truly the house the community built and I’m thrilled to see the new hospice at substantial completion. “

Andrew Mercier, MLA for Langley –

“The new Langley hospice residence will meet each patient’s needs, while also supporting their loved ones to help make their time together as peaceful as possible.”

Laurie Leith, vice-president of regional hospitals and health services, Fraser Health –

“Hospice care is about providing tailored services in an environment that feels as much like home as possible, and, by focusing on comfort and their physical, emotional, and spiritual health, we can support our patients and their families to live each day as fully as possible. Thank you to the Langley Hospice Society, BC Housing, the BC Center for Palliative Care, the Township of Langley, the provincial government and our staff and medical staff for your commitment and compassion to this project to see us at this milestone opening today. “

Kathy Derksen, board president, Langley Hospice Society –

“The completion of the new 15-bed Langley hospice residence realizes a long-term goal of the Langley Hospice Society board, staff, volunteers and donors. The end-of-life journey is not just about dying, it’s about living well, right to the end. The hospice philosophy speaks to the importance of a home-like environment to ensure support for individuals and their families and friends as they face this final journey. Langley Hospice Society is incredibly grateful for the caring and compassionate community we are a part of, that have helped us make this new hospice residence a reality. “

IPS plans to add solar panels to 20 schools

INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Public Schools has announced plans to move forward with the largest solar energy project by an educational institution in the state of Indiana. According to IPS, the solar energy project would significantly reduce cost, cut carbon emissions and boost sustainability efforts for 20 schools.

“Research has consistently shown that solar projects can reduce air pollution and CO2 emissions, and significantly reduce energy costs,” said Dr. Aleesia Johnson, IPS superintendent. “Under this new partnership, IPS will install solar panels at multiple schools and locations across the district, enabling our schools to utilize clean energy while at the same time reducing the district’s carbon footprint.”

IPS is partnering with Carmel-based Sun FundED to develop, finance and operate solar energy systems for the school district under the firm’s “Solar-as-a-Service” program. The project is estimated to reduce energy costs by $ 45 million over the next 30 years.

The project proposes installing both roof and land based solar installations at 20 schools, IPS said. The project also would include the ability for the school district to adopt renewable energy and sustainability programs for the classroom through a digital platform intended to help students understand both financial and technical aspects of solar energy.

IPS said the project locations, size and system output still needs to be finalized through the development phase of the project. The school district said the move to clean energy is part of IPS’s continuing effort to be both a good steward of taxpayer dollars by reducing energy costs and a good steward of the environment by promoting renewable energy.

Weston Young, the district’s chief financial officer, said the “Solar-as-a-Service” program represents a fixed-fee structure that makes budgeting more predictable for schools while also creating a long-term hedge against cost-plus inflation. He also said the project will cut cuts in the first year with no debt incurred while also preparing students for green energy / STEM careers.

In the first year, based on the initial 20 buildings, it was estimated that IPS would save $ 124,000. By year 25 those savings are estimated to accumulate to $ 22 million and then $ 40 million by year 30, according to a statement from Sun FundED.

“This is a phenomenal initiative in an urban environment on a scale that hasn’t been done before,” said Evan Hawkins, president of the IPS Board of School Commissioners. “As a Board, we are excited that IPS is moving forward with a solar energy project that will be transformative in the coming years. Without a doubt, people around Indiana will be pointing to our efforts in the coming years when talking about the positive changes we are making in education and sustainability. “

According to Sun FundED co-founder Kelly Hipskind, the cost of solar has fallen 99 percent since 1977 making solar energy cheaper than fossil fuel.

Sun FundED also told the IPS board that they would be making an estimated $ 25 million investment in the project, the largest solar investment into education in state history, according to Sun FundED.

“As the son of a retired teacher and soon to be retired dean of students in public education in Indiana, it brings great personal and professional pride for Sun FundED to steward this investment into 20 buildings and see the positive returns to IPS compound over the coming decades, and watch the ROI compound for generations to come at IPS and throughout Indiana, ”Hipsking said.

Sun FundED has worked in bringing solar energy to other educational institutions including Indiana Wesleyan University and Taylor University. They’ve also signed up, or are soon to sign up, schools in Michigan, Florida, South Carolina, Minnesota and Virginia, according to the company.

AAPI Spotlight: Somyung Kim brings a world of culture and ideas to her Korean language students

For more than ten years, Somyung Kim worked in the financial industry, excelling at her job and enjoying it. But all the while she knew that something was missing.

Kim had grown up in Daegu, South Korea, as older sister to one brother in a large and close extended family. She attended college there, but as a self-described “fearless college student,” she decided after her sophomore year to “come to America to explore.” An economics major, Kim secured an internship in Florida with a leading hotel chain. Later, she studied in Georgia on an exchange program before graduating from her home college and becoming a teacher. It was then that she found her calling di lei, teaching foreign language – in this case English – to high school students. But after three years, a permanent move to America to get married led her away from teaching and into the business world.

“Teaching was something I missed forever,” Kim said, although she found good jobs in the financial industry where she worked for about 13 years. Of her last position di lei, at a large auto financing company, she says, “I loved it there. Luckily I was in a position where I had to train people, teach people, lead people. I really enjoyed it, but I always felt that something was missing. I missed teaching a foreign language to high school students. “

AAPI Spotlight: Somyung Kim brings a world of culture and ideas to her Korean language students  A better alternative

Unable to shake that feeling, about three years ago Kim began to volunteer as a teacher at a Korean school near her home while still working in finance. In that role she attended meetings, events and educational workshops, eventually learning of an opportunity to be hired as a foreign language teacher through Dallas ISD’s Alternative Teacher Certification program.

“I interviewed with Dallas ISD, and my [current]principal extended an offer. He wanted to hire me right away. It felt like a miracle – that it could happen after I’d been longing for the opportunity for so long, thinking in the back of my mind, ‘Oh, I wish I could do that again.’

“I think my principal appreciated all I’d done in my career – working in the financial industry for more than 10 years. I had a lot of experience to share with my students. I’m a Korean teacher who is from South Korea, but I have so much practical experience that I can share with students wanting to do their best in life. “

Now, Kim is in the last month of her first school year teaching at the School of Business and Management at Townview.

Enthusiasm is an understatement when describing Kim, who says, “I really like the students here at Townview! They are very respectful and highly motivated to care about their lives and their academic accomplishments. I also like the fact that I can teach all the students from the six different Townview schools. They have different strengths and weaknesses, and I’m enjoying learning all about that. “

More than the language

AAPI Spotlight: Somyung Kim brings a world of culture and ideas to her Korean language students  While her focus is on teaching Korean, Kim sees her role as an opportunity to share more than the language. “I share Korean art, music, history, culture, food. I’m not trying to limit my teaching to just the language. Language doesn’t come by itself. Students have to learn about the culture to be able to learn the language. So I try to introduce as much as possible. Food is one of the things they get really excited about. It’s part of sharing the culture. “

Music is another interest for Kim, who says she played the piano growing up and got to the point where “I could have majored in it. I make all the connections – between language and music and business. They are not separate. I always try to motivate students by helping them understand those connections. “

For Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, Kim had her students design traditional Korean masks with craft materials she brought from her homeland. “I show them some of the Korean artwork and they interpret it as their own. They’ve created Korean masks that look like Spanish, American, all the cultures combined, which is so cool. We are displaying those to share the experience with all the schools at Townview. “

Diversity is important to Kim, the mother of two boys, 8 and 11, described by their mom as “a mix of everything. They are half Korean, 25% Italian, 25% British. They sometimes joke, that, ‘I have 3% of Switzerland!’ They love being different. “

Her boys attend elementary school and go to Korean school every week. “They are learning Tae-Kwan do, Korean martial arts. I observe them in class and I’m interested in learning that myself. I think it will be good to share with my students as well. “

She and her family visit South Korea every year, something she’ll have more time for now as a teacher rather than a business employee. And now she’ll be seeing her homeland through the eyes of a teacher as well as a former resident. “It’s a society of constant change – every year, something new. They keep changing and improving things. I want to figure out how teaching about that change can be helpful academically to motivate my students. I’m very excited about that. “


Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Test Review 2022

Getting tested for an infection with SARS-CoV-2, or the coronavirus, is an important way to help reduce transmission of the virus. If you prefer to get tested in the comfort and convenience of your own home instead of going out to get a PCR test, several at-home rapid COVID-19 tests are now on the market.

With some at-home tests, you receive a kit in the mail that gives you instructions on how to perform the nasal swab. You then ship the swab to a lab to receive your results.

Other at-home tests can be purchased at online retailers or local pharmacies and provide results in minutes.

One at-home COVID-19 test option is the Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test manufactured by ACON Laboratories. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for this test in October 2021.

However, another one of the tests manufactured by ACON – the Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Self-Testing) – hasn’t been approved by the FDA and has been recalled by the manufacturer.

Read on to find out more about the Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test, including its safety, customer reviews, and more.

The Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test is made by ACON Laboratories. ACON also manufactures the Distinct brand of at-home pregnancy tests and the On Call brand of glucose meters.

Like other over-the-counter COVID-19 tests, Flowflex requires you to take a sample from your nasal passage using the sterile swab provided. According to the company, Flowflex provides results in 15 minutes and is safe to use for children as young as 2 years old.

One of the other tests created by ACON – the Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Self-Testing) – was distributed in the United States as a counterfeit product, according to the FDA.

This test is only authorized for sale in Europe and other markets, and ACON did not import it into the United States.

In early 2022, the product was recalled in the United States. It can’t be legally imported, distributed, or used in the United States since it hasn’t been approved, cleared, or authorized by the FDA.

This test is different from the Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test, which is still available for purchase in the United States and has received an EUA from the FDA.

The FDA also released a safety communication advising people not to use certain ACON COVID-19 tests, like the Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Self-Testing), which is packaged in a dark blue box.

While there haven’t been reports of death, injuries, or adverse health consequences, the FDA is concerned about the risk of false results when using this unauthorized test.

Make sure to check the packaging before purchasing a Flowflex test. The Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test, which comes in a white box, is authorized by the FDA and can be used in the United States.

It’s important to use tests that are authorized or approved by the FDA. COVID-19 antigen tests in the United States that aren’t approved by the FDA can pose a significant risk. Using these tests might lead to inaccurate test results, like false-negative or false-positive results.

False-negative results could lead to delayed diagnosis or inappropriate treatment of SARS-CoV-2. This could cause people harm by unknowingly spreading the virus and potentially causing serious illness and death.

False-positive antigen test results may lead to a delay in both a correct diagnosis and treatment for the actual cause of a person’s illness, which could be another virus that is not SARS-CoV-2.

While the Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test isn’t officially approved by the FDA, the FDA has given it an EUA. Under an EUA, the FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products if the benefits seem to outweigh the risks.

Online reviews of the Flowflex’s antigen home test are largely positive.

Reviewers report the test being highly accurate but note that it’s very important to follow the directions exactly to get accurate results. Others appreciate the quick results and note that the test is affordable and convenient.

Since the Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Self-Testing) was recalled in the United States, it’s no longer being sold online, and there are very few reviews directly related to it.

Overall, ACON Laboratories receives an average of 4 stars on sites like CVS and Target. While some customers say the test was easy and quick to use, others complain that their tests were missing pieces, making it impossible to use the product.

The FDA has not received reports of death, injuries, or adverse health consequences associated with these tests. However, one Flowflex product has been recalled in the United States, meaning it isn’t safe to use.

The FDA advises any consumers who have received the Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Self-Testing) with the blue box in the US to stop using the product and dispose of it.

The FDA encourages you to report any problems through the MedWatch Voluntary Reporting Form. This form is a place for consumers to report observed or suspected adverse events for human medical products. These reports help the FDA identify risks for medical products.

The Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test is available for purchase at many online retailers, such as:

If you’d rather opt for an at-home COVID-19 test that’s not made by Flowflex, here are a few other options that are also Healthline-approved.

Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit DTC

Price: $ 109

Everlywell’s COVID-19 at-home test allows you to easily test for SARS-CoV-2 infection whether or not you’re experiencing symptoms. Collect your sample at home (a lower nasal swab) and ship it for free, then receive secure digital results within 24 to 48 hours of the lab receiving your sample.

A telehealth consult is available to guide you through your next steps. This FDA-authorized test is appropriate for those ages 18 and up.

LetsGetChecked Coronavirus Test (COVID-19)

Price: $ 109

This at-home COVID-19 test can be ordered online and ships free. You can complete the easy-to-follow process of swabbing your sample and then use the provided UPS next-day air return shipping label to send your sample back to the lab.

Once your sample is analyzed, you’ll receive results within 24 to 72 hours.

Labcorp OnDemand COVID-19 Test (At-Home Collection Kit)

Price: $ 119

Get a COVID-19 PCR test home collection kit from Labcorp and collect your nasal swab before shipping it back to the lab using FedEx dropoff.

The lab will perform a PCR test on your sample and deliver results in 1 to 2 days. This test is safe for those ages 2 and up.

Why did Flowflex get recalled?

The Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Self-Testing) hasn’t been authorized, cleared, or approved by the FDA for distribution or use in the United States. The FDA is concerned about the risk of false results when using this unauthorized test.

Meanwhile, the Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test hasn’t been cleared by the FDA but has received an EUA. This means that it’s safe to use.

What are the consequences of a false-negative COVID-19 test?

A false-negative result may lead to delayed diagnosis or inappropriate treatment of SARS-CoV-2, which could lead to severe illness.

False-negative results can also lead to further spread of SARS-CoV-2 since actions to limit exposure to someone with the virus might not be taken.

How accurate are at-home COVID-19 tests?

At-home COVID-19 tests detect current infection and are highly reliable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some at-home rapid antigen tests are 85 percent accurate at detecting positive cases. There is more of a likelihood to receive a false negative than a false positive.

While the Flowflex COVID-19 Antigen Home Test hasn’t been approved by the FDA, the FDA has authorized it, which means it’s safe to use.

However, the Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test (Self-Testing) was recalled in the United States since it isn’t approved or authorized by the FDA.

If you would like additional options for an at-home COVID-19 test, try one of our recommended alternatives.


Biden Administration Takes Aggressive Measures to Merge Environmental Enforcement and Equity | Venable LLP

Over the past month, the Biden administration has taken several noteworthy steps aimed at creating an environmental enforcement strategy focused on addressing pollution that has traditionally been concentrated in low-income and disadvantaged communities. While it has been clear since his inauguration di lui in January 2021 that environmental justice (EJ) is a policy priority for the President, recent actions by the US Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency have brought the administration’s enforcement strategy into clearer focus.

The actions taken by the DOJ and EPA reflect the dedication of administrative and financial resources aimed at implementing a comprehensive new strategy to promote an EJ and equity agenda. The most significant aspects are:

  • Creating a dedicated Office of Environmental Justice within the DOJ to pursue civil and criminal enforcement in EJ communities. This office will prioritize cases that will result “in significant reductions in environmental and public health harms, or injury to natural resources, in overburdened and underserved communities.”
  • Requiring DOJ to “make strategic use of all available legal tools,” including by reinstating Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs). An SEP is an environmental remediation project that an alleged violator can undertake as part of a settlement resolving an environmental enforcement action.
  • Promoting “meaningful engagement with impacted communities,” through listening sessions and other outreach to ensure that such communities can participate in environmental decision making.

What does this mean for manufacturing and industrial businesses across the wide range of economic sectors? At a minimum, the frequency of inspections and enforcement actions involving facilities in or near disadvantaged communities will increase. Because the issues surrounding EJ concerns usually involve impacts from long-standing actions, it will likely not matter if a facility has demonstrated a long history of compliance. Current concerns, combined with impacts from a variety of other pollution sources over time, could lead to greater scrutiny.

If the agencies find a violation, they will likely seek higher penalties and remedies that fully address the non-compliance, including the greater possibility of pursuing criminal penalties in the most severe cases. The EPA has also signaled its intent to make greater use of “imminent and substantial endangerment” orders under a variety of environmental programs to provide immediate relief. For instance, Section 303 of the Clean Air Act, although it has rarely been invoked, allows the EPA to issue an emergency order to close a facility that is substantially endangering public health, welfare, or the environment.

Federal agencies have also expressed greater interest in partnering with state and local agencies and nonprofits to pursue environmental enforcement cases. The EPA and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, for example, recently agreed to coordinate EJ enforcement actions. And in Louisiana, the EPA stepped in to investigate nonprofit complaints that the local agency was allowing industrial facilities to operate without permits and release hazardous air pollution in a disadvantaged community.

Given these developments, it is more important than ever for facilities to create or update risk management and compliance plans. When dealing with compliance planning, operators should look beyond their fenceline to understand their community’s context. If the community has concentrated industrial development or there is a history of environmental violations, it is likely an “EJ community.” The EPA’s “EJ Screen” database is also a useful tool for identifying the potential for regulators to focus on facilities in a particular community.

Businesses might also consider taking a more proactive approach to community outreach. Rather than holding meetings only when required to (such as in relation to a permit application), operators should think creatively about how to engage with communities throughout the year, whether by attending community meetings, having a presence at farmers’ markets, or sponsoring local events. Most important, being present in a community also means actively listening to the residents’ concerns. Understanding those concerns and how they can be addressed in the context of continued industrial operations can go a long way toward addressing EJ issues and forestalling government enforcement actions.