Environmental justice (EJ) is based on the principle that all people have a right to be protected from environmental pollution, and to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment. In many cases, low-income communities have been denied this right. They have been burdened with a disproportionate number of polluting industries that have polluted the ground, air and water.
Salem, an historic industrial city, is one of the Commonwealth’s 108 communities with an EJ community. It is one of only 20 cities/towns that meet all of the EJ population criteria:
- Median annual household income is at or below 65% of the statewide median income;
- 40% or more of the residents are a minority;
- 25% or more of the residents are lacking English language proficiency; or
- Minorities comprise 25 percent or more of the population and the annual median household income of the municipality in which the neighborhood is located does not exceed 150 percent of the statewide annual median household income.
SAFE embeds environmental justice into all of its advocacy work. We are partnering with the Latino Leadership Council to ensure the new wind development at the Salem port employs local workers, particularly from our immigrant community. We are also working to develop more bilingual programing.
Learn more about the state’s environmental justice programs.