Grand Isle, VT – The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) seeks public comments on a definition of “disadvantaged community” that will be used to help prioritize projects for LCBP funding in 2023 and beyond. The LCBP has scheduled a series of meetings to solicit feedback and will accept public comments online through June 9, 2023.
The LCBP released a draft list of criteria to be included in a definition of disadvantaged community for public comment in November 2022. Based on input received, the Lake Champlain Steering Committee approved an interim definition of disadvantaged community centered on a suite of socioeconomic criteria that follow U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance and align with the mission of the LCBP:
This month’s public meetings and comment period are intended to gather feedback about the criteria, thresholds used to determine eligibility under the criteria, and a mapping tool developed to view the locations of communities that meet the definition.
The meetings will be directed toward specific audiences, but all meetings are open to any interested party:
Written comments may also be submitted directly via the Disadvantaged Community Proposed Definition comment form.
The LCBP is subject to President Biden’s Justice40 Executive Order to develop an EPA-approved definition of a disadvantaged community. Justice40 is a commitment to ensuring that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to communities that are marginalized, underserved, or overburdened by pollution. The Lake Champlain Steering Committee will review public comments received and LCBP may submit a revised definition to EPA based on this input by early summer 2023.
The definition will be used with other scientific and resource management criteria for LCBP programming and competitive grant processes to evaluate the applicability of proposals to the goals and objectives of Opportunities for Action, the LCBP’s plan for managing the Lake Champlain watershed.