Massachusetts Cumulative Impacts Assessment Support

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Project Brief

The Challenge

Historically, when issuing an air quality emissions permit to a specific facility, environmental regulatory agencies have considered the potential health impacts of the facility’s emissions but not how these emissions would add to the cumulative health risk posed by emissions from all local air pollution sources. This cumulative risk often disproportionately affects minority and low-income communities, creating environmental justice concerns. To better protect public health in communities impacted by multiple sources, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection is now required to consider cumulative impacts for air permitting decisions by incorporating feedback from environmental justice populations. In response to this requirement, MDEP wanted to engage community members in its process to develop regulations, guidance, and protocols for including cumulative impact analyses in certain categories of air quality permits.

ERG's Solution

ERG supported MDEP In its public engagement efforts for six virtual Zoom meetings to address inclusion of cumulative impact analysis in air quality permits. All meetings were open to the public. We worked with MDEP to finalize meeting agendas, invite interested parties, review and update briefing materials to ensure clarity and cultural competency, provide logistics support, and help ensure that the meetings met the requirements of the Massachusetts Open Meeting Law. We maintained a list of interested parties, and we analyzed the types of interested parties that attended these meetings to help identify gaps in outreach. We also prepared high-level briefing materials on the meetings for presentation by MDEP to the Environmental Justice Council.


Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection