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Dickinson College to Host Virtual Panel on Environmental Justice in Pennsylvania

A photo collage of Clarke Forum Environmental Justice panelists.

From left to right: Adam Cutler Veronica Coptis, Heather Bedi, Horace Strand (top right), Saleem Chapman (lower right).

Environmental Justice in the Keystone State

by Logan Cort '21

Dickinson College will host a panel of experts to discuss environmental racism and justice in Pennsylvania. The virtual discussion, “The State of Environmental Justice in Pennsylvania,” will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. in a public YouTube livestream. The link is available at the Clarke Forum website.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been deeply impacted by fracking, coal mining and other producers of greenhouse gasses. These pollutants effect all Pennsylvanians, but disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). The panel will discuss the counterforces and environmental activism that is helping to combat environmental degradation.

Panelists:  

  • Saleem Chapman is the deputy director of the Philadelphia Office of Sustainability and is responsible for the implementation of and reporting on “Greenworks: A Vision for a Sustainable Philadelphia.” Chapman also has experience in environmental policy analysis and sustainable economic development.
  • Veronica Coptis is the executive director of the Center for Coalfield Justice (CCJ). Before joining the CCJ staff, Coptis served on the board of directors for CCJ and organized with Mountain Watershed Association.
  • Adam Cutler is an attorney helping businesses, municipalities and individuals resolve complex environmental issues under state and federal law. Cutler is a member of the Environmental Practice Group at Fox Rothschild LLP. He has served in the public interest sector, working on environmental justice issues for communities in southeast Pennsylvania and serving as interim executive director of the Chester Environmental Partnership. Cutler was appointed in 2011 to serve on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board, and since 2018 has served as its chair.
  • Horace Strand serves as the executive manager of the Storm Water Authority of the City of Chester. He also currently serves as chairman of the Chester Environmental Partnership; a member of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Environmental Justice Advisory Board; and is an appointee to the EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Board.
  • Heather Bedi is an assistant professor of environmental studies at Dickinson. Bedi’s research examines how civil society and socio-environmental movements experience and adapt to natural resource and landscape modifications related to energy processes, climate change, industrialization and agricultural transitions. Bedi also examines energy injustice through the lens of shale gas extraction (fracking) in the United States. She serves on the Pennsylvania Department for Environmental Protection’s Environmental Justice Advisory Board and the Cumberland County Food System Alliance leadership team.

The event is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Department of Environmental Studies.

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Published September 28, 2020