The Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell Monday announced the appointment of Allison Acevedo as Director of Environmental Justice. Acevedo, of Philadelphia, was a strategic planning consultant, and an attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor prior to coming to DEP. “Allison’s experience working with community leaders and residents throughout the state, her passion as an entrepreneur, and her guidance as a policy advisor make her uniquely qualified to take DEP’s environmental justice program to the next level,” said McDonnell. DEP’s environmental justice program seeks to ensure that all Pennsylvanians are equipped with the proper resources and opportunities to meaningfully participate in decision-making processes.
“It is an honor to work on behalf of Pennsylvania’s residents and Environmental Justice communities to advance environmental justice in our state,” said Acevedo. “I look forward to collaborating with community organizations and other partners to promote justice and equity in application of environmental policies, regulations and procedures in Pennsylvania.” “We are excited to work with Allison to make sure the voices of Pennsylvania’s environmental justice communities continue to be heard and understood throughout DEP, from the Secretary to the program staff,” said Adam Cutler, chairman of DEP’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board. The 14-member board represent the interests of citizens across the state in its advisory function to the DEP secretary.
“The Board looks forward to supporting Allison as the Office of Environmental Justice pursues its objectives of minimizing adverse environmental impacts in vulnerable communities, ensuring opportunities for public participation and dialogue, and fostering environmentally responsible economic development that benefits both residents and the regulated sector,” Cutler said.
Acevedo operated a consultancy providing guidance on education, program development, policy and strategic planning for nonprofit organizations. One of her clients included Overbrook Environmental Education Center, and she provided guidance to the Overbrook Youth Environmental Stewardship (O’YES) Program, focusing on youth environmental justice, community engagement and stewardship. Prior to that, she served as Director of Education of United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey; as a staff advisor to Rep. W. Curtis Thomas (R Philadelphia) and former Senator Allyson Y. Schwartz (D-Philadelphia); and as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Labor.
She co-founded the Philadelphia Black Giving Circle, and is a member of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Early Childhood Coalition. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Swarthmore College, and a Juris Doctor and Master of Laws in Taxation from Temple University Beasley School of Law.
DEP established an environmental justice program in 2002 to ensure communications with communities that did not always have a voice in environmental issues. EJ communities are those where 20 percent of more of the residents live in poverty, and/or 30 percent of more of the population is minority, based on U.S. Census Bureau data and the federal guidelines for poverty.
For more information, visit DEP’s Office of Environmental Justice webpage.