Montpelier, VT – In June 2023, The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and non-profit partners Center for Whole Communities, Rights and Democracy Institute, and the Vermont Law School Environmental Justice Clinic released a report. Connecting People to Power lifts the voices of those most impacted by environmental injustice in the state and provides guidance and recommendations for equitable public participation and community engagement relevant to any actor doing conservation and environmental work.
The report details an 18-month-long community engagement pilot program conducted in three communities in Vermont (Bennington, Northeast Kingdom, and Burlington/Winooski) starting in 2021. Those engagements informed specific recommendations to DEC on tools and techniques to conduct more equitable and inclusive community engagement.
You can read and download the report at right, or find it and key additional resources it mentions in this online Resources Folder.
Read more here
Connecting People to Power presents on-the-ground community research and data collection that will make a positive impact on the way DEC and other state agencies and nonprofits conduct their community outreach with an environmental justice lens.The report is organized into two main sections: the first half of which shares the project team’s approach and community voices, stories, and findings; and the second half includes guidance and recommendations structured to align with the EPA Recommendations for developing Public Involvement Plans (PIP). The guidance provided includes both national best practice
recommendations, and Vermont-specific context and recommendations, with the goal of providing programs across the DEC with a framework to center community voices and experiences alongside addressing environmental harms.
Cite as: Watson, Britaney; McCandless, Susannah; Byrne, Jennifer; McGinn, Ginny. 2023. Connecting People to Power: Community Engagement Pilot Report and Planning Recommendations to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Center for Whole Communities (CWC), Rights and Democracy Institute (RDI), and Vermont Law and Graduate School (VLS) Environmental Justice Clinic.