Cook County Invites Public Participation in Environmental Justice Policy Planning Process

Cook County’s Department of Environment and Sustainability (DES) invites residents to participate in its 2024 environmental justice survey, which will aid in the creation of a countywide environmental justice policy. Once adopted by the County, the environmental justice policy can help inform and guide programming and policy decision-making across the Offices Under the President. 

“Establishing an environmental justice policy is a priority for my administration and it will serve as an instrument for fairness, helping us build vibrant, sustainable and inclusive communities," said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. "The County's dedication to environmental justice work is an example of how we can and will lead with policy that puts compassion and equity first."

Those who live or work in Cook County are encouraged to share their concerns about environmental impacts on the community by participating in a brief survey. Survey responses must be received by midnight on Wednesday, July 17, 2024. To complete the confidential survey, please visit:

Historically, communities of color and low-income communities have experienced disproportionate environmental burdens. Responding to the compounding effects of environmental inequities and preparing for additional challenges resulting from climate change are crucial aspects of the County’s strategic plan. 

“As an environmental engineer, I know that problem solving can be complicated. Input and engagement from our community are vital to informing the work of DES and the Cook County Board. Residents know best how to improve their community and how the government can better serve them. That’s why I’m excited that DES is launching this environmental justice survey,” Cook County Commissioner and Chair of the Environment and Sustainability committee, Bridget Degnen said. “The environmental justice survey is another step we are taking to hear directly from residents. Through these responses, we can make better, more informed policies to address their needs, while fighting for environmental justice in spaces that need it most.”

Cook County is working with an Environmental Justice Community Advisory Committee to co-develop this policy, a process that is being supported by the Center for Neighborhood Technology. This committee is made up of dedicated community leaders and advocates from diverse locations and backgrounds. The committee members are: Delia Barajas (Voces Fieles Comunitarias Contra la Opresión), Oliver Ciciora (Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation), Aliaa Eldabli (Radiant Vessels Community Services), Jerri Garl (Environmental Justice Evanston), Jersey-Shabazz Hosier (Access Living), Fredia Lindsey (resident of Robbins), Theresa Reyes McNamara (Southwest Environmental Alliance), Daisy Rosa (resident of Rolling Meadows), Gina Roxas (Trickster Cultural Center), Myrna Salgado (Chicago Environmental Justice Network), Apostle Carl White, Jr. (Southland Ministerial Health Network) and Michelle Yates (South Suburbs for Greenspace). 

"Listening to residents is a crucial step in developing Cook County's first Environmental Justice Policy," Cook County Commissioner and Vice-Chair of the Environment and Sustainability committee, Josina Morita said.

The creation of an environmental justice policy was requested in the Cook County COVID-19 Response Plan, the Cook County Equity Fund Taskforce recommendations and in Cook County Board Resolution 23-1092. The County anticipates releasing a public draft of the policy in early 2025, followed by opportunities for comment at public town hall meetings and a second survey in 2025. 



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