Epsilon Associates environmental health scientist Sonja Sax, ScD and air quality engineer Ida Weiss attended and presented at the Air and Waste Management (AWMA) specialty conference Environmental Justice: From Policy to Practice, held recently in Arlington, Va. This important conference offered a venue for industry professionals to learn about and discuss scientific, technical, legal, and related policy issues relevant to environmental justice (EJ). 175 federal, state, industry and academic professionals attended the two-day event.
Dr. Sax and Ms. Weiss presented in the Cumulative Impacts and Health Assessment sessions. Dr. Sax discussed proposed new regulations in Massachusetts that will require conducting cumulative impacts analyses for certain new or existing projects and the potential permitting hurdles associated with these new EJ regulations. Ms. Weiss presented on Epsilon’s analyses of mobile source air impacts on EJ communities for projects under MEPA review and included several case studies based on consulting work in the last couple of years.
The conference included tracks on Engagement and Collaboration, Screening and Measurement, Cumulative Impacts and Health Assessment, and Permitting, Compliance and Enforcement. Plenary sessions included state and federal officials from DOE, EPA and CEQ, as well as industry and academia representatives. In assessing this influential conference, we offer the following nine takeaways:
About the Experts:
Sonja Sax, Sc.D, is an environmental health scientist in Epsilon’s Air Quality Group. Dr. Sax specializes in evaluating exposure and health risk from environmental pollutants. She has over 20 years of experience in environmental regulatory assessment, health impact assessment and cost-benefit analyses. She has managed large multi-year projects advocating for clients involved in litigation or providing permitting support. She has performed indoor and outdoor air quality investigations evaluating exposures and health impacts of airborne gases and particles. She also served as a consultant to the US EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee for the particulate matter and ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards. More recently she has worked on projects of all sizes conducting Environmental Justice analysis, modeling of air quality impacts and providing guidance to clients on the best approaches for addressing new EJ regulations in multiple states, including Massachusetts and New Jersey.
Ida Weiss is a Project Engineer in Epsilon’s Air Quality group. She has modeled emissions from proposed projects across the Northeast from both mobile and stationary sources. Ms. Weiss writes environmental justice analyses to evaluate project impacts on EJ populations. She also prepares mesoscale analyses for projects with considerable traffic and uses her knowledge of GIS, Python, and Excel to support the Planning, Air, Ecological Sciences/Wetlands, and GIS groups at Epsilon.