Purdue University

    Dear Colleague Letter: Opportunities to Elevate Environmental Justice at Purdue

    March 2, 2022

    Dear Colleagues-

    I hope this note finds you all well.  I’m reaching out today in regards to upcoming opportunities across multiple disciplines in the environmental justice space.  As you may be aware, President Biden has prioritized engagement with many basic principles of EJ and has established a central policy position for them as outlined in his Justice40 initiative. This initiative requires that 40% of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments—including investments in clean energy and energy efficiency; clean transit; affordable and sustainable housing; training and workforce development; the remediation and reduction of legacy pollution; and the development of clean water infrastructure— flow to disadvantaged communities (Executive Order 14008). An update on the status of these initiatives was published on February 8th in the National Law Review.

    We are reaching out today to invite you to join us in an ad-hoc committee of faculty organized through our new institute on climate, food, the environment and sustainability that establishes a core group of individuals who have interest or capabilities in this space, in any or multiple disciplines or areas.  This does not imply obligation to participate in any specific initiatives, but rather will allow us to more efficiently and nimbly respond to the many opportunities that will be published in coming months that have at least one component of EJ-related activities.

    If you are interested, please respond via this link.

    More immediately, we are writing in regards to a current opportunity from the US Dept of Energy in the space of hydrogen energy.  Specifically, we have been asked to look into the Environmental Justice space for feedback to respond to their request for information regarding the awards of millions of dollars to create several “Hydrogen Energy Hubs” across the country that is due March 21st. 

    The relevant section of the RFP (p. 17-18 in the full RFP) is as follows:

    Category 3Equity, Environmental and Energy Justice (EEEJ) Priorities

    EEEJ benefits will be a high priority as the H2Hubs are developed. For the purposes of this RFI, DOE has identified the following non-exhaustive list of policy priorities as examples to guide DOE’s implementation of Justice40 in DACs: (1) decrease energy burden; (2) decrease environmental exposure and burdens; (3) increase access to low-cost capital; (4) increase the clean energy job pipeline and job training for individuals;(5) increase clean energy enterprise creation (e.g., minority-owned or diverse business enterprises); (6) increase energy democracy, including community ownership; (7) increase parity in clean energy technology access and adoption; and (8) increase energy resilience.

    1. What strategies, policies, and practices can H2Hubs deploy to support EEEJ goals (e.g., Justice40)? How should these be measured and evaluated for the H2Hubs?
    2. What EEEJ concerns or priorities are most relevant for the H2Hubs?
    3. What measures should H2Hub project developers take to ensure that harm to communities with environmental justice concerns, including local pollution, are mitigated?
    4. How can H2Hubs ensure community-based stakeholders/organizations are engaged and included in the planning, decision-making, and implementation processes (e.g., including community-based organizations on the project team)?
    5. How can DOE support meaningful and sustained engagement with H2Hub relevant disadvantaged communities?

    If you have interest in contributing to the Institute’s response in this space, please contact me as soon as possible.  Please also feel free to provide suggestions for Purdue colleagues who may be interested.

    Many thanks-

    Lynne Dahmen

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