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Governor Patrick signed an executive order on November 20, 2014 that he says will promote parks and open spaces in urban neighborhoods.  Executive Order 552  focuses on parks in part as a social justice issue.  “Environmental justice means that all people have a right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthy environment regardless of race, income, national origin or English language proficiency.”

The Executive Order requires the creation of an advisory council to advise the governor and the secretary of energy and environmental affairs on environmental justice concerns.

It also requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs to update its 2002 environmental justice policy within 60 days,  and all secretariats who report to the governor to appoint an “environmental justice coordinator” within 30 days.  The secretariats are required to post their updated environmental justice strategies within six months.

Additionally, “an Interagency Environmental Justice Working Group shall be established to maximize state resources, research, and technical assistance to further the goals of this Executive Order. The Environmental Justice Coordinators shall serve as their Secretariat representatives to the Interagency Environmental Justice Working Group.  The Director shall convene meetings of the Environmental Justice Working Group and serve as Chair.  Within one seventy-five days of this Order, the Interagency Environmental Justice Working Group should hold at least one meeting and develop a schedule for subsequent meetings.”

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