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EPISODE 17 | 24 MINS

Community Benefits Agreements: A Vital Tool for Equitable Community Reinvestment

WITH VERONICA EADY


TOPIC

Equalizing the Balance of Power

IN THIS EPISODE

01:48 Introduction of Veronica Eady.
02:14 Veronica explains when she realized being an environmental justice advocate would be her life’s work.
03:59 What is a community benefits agreement?
05:20 Do community benefits agreements work in equalizing developers and communities?
07:50 Why are community benefits agreements important for equitable reinvestment or development?
11:33 Are there other examples of a good environmental benefits agreement, and is an environmental benefits agreement the same as a community benefits agreement?
13:40 Veronica describes the elements of obtaining a community benefits agreement.
16:21 Where can we learn more or get advice about a community benefits agreement?
18:17 Veronica explains about the Conservation Law Foundation and the work that is done there.
19:27 Veronica shares how listeners can learn more about the Conservation Law Foundation and get in touch with her.
19:55 Veronica shares one change that would lead to smarter, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.
20:37 Veronica describes the action that listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.
21:27 Veronica explains what the New England region looks like 30 years from now.


GUEST

Veronica Eady is the Vice President and Massachusetts Director of the Conservation Law Foundation. She is a lawyer whose practice has been focused on issues of environmental justice. Veronica is a former chair of the U.S. EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council and the principal author of the State of Massachusetts’ environmental justice policy.

Check out Veronica’s recent posts on the Conservation Law Foundation website

Contact Veronica via email at veady@clf.org

ORGANIZATION

The Conservation Law Foundation protects New England’s environment for the benefit of all people. They use the law, science and the market to create solutions that preserve natural resources, build healthy communities, and sustain a vibrant economy. Their vision is for a healthy, thriving New England – for generations to come.

TAKEAWAY QUOTES

“Generally speaking, the interests on the community side in a community benefit agreement are wide-ranging. It can be community based organizations; it can be labor unions, faith organizations, or mainstream environmental groups, or any combination of those. But typically those are the types of groups that have an interest in community benefits agreements.”

“I’ve seen some community benefits agreements that have been very good, and I have seen some that have not been so good…Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen them change quite a bit, to the extent that in some states, community benefits agreements are mandated by law.

“…here in Massachusetts, where I live, our casino gaming law requires a community benefits agreement with the community, and the fact that these community benefits agreements are now more so embodied in a statute and required, that’s really changed what the playing field looks like. So no longer is it community organizations, the environmental groups and such coming together and insisting on their power and their place at the table, the dynamic is a little bit different now because you have the state government, in Massachusetts, for example, saying you have to do this community benefits agreement…it changes the lead of the agreement; it changes the tenor of the agreement…it really has shaken up the playing field and the balance of power.”

“[Community benefits agreements] continue to be an important tool because they are still a way for communities to be at the table and formally engage in this conversation, even if it is a conversation mandated by statute.”

RESOURCES

Conservation Law Foundation

Conservation Law Foundation – People & Communities

Conservation Law Foundation 2015 Year in Review

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