Office Of Community Engagement

The Office of Community Engagement (OCE) was created in 2010 to increase knowledge of agency programs and processes through educational outreach materials and activities to enhance individual and community participation in environmental decision-making. In 2014, the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP) was merged into the Office of Community Engagement. The addition of the SBEAP under the umbrella of the Office of Community Engagement serves to sustain and consistently strengthen MDEQ’s relationship with external stakeholder groups, including small businesses, industry, elected officials, government agencies, and civic and community nonprofit organizations.

Small Business Environmental Assistance Program

The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 added new requirements to help states achieve air quality standards. A variety of small businesses will now be regulated. To help the affected small businesses comply with these new regulations, Congress mandated that each state provide free technical assistance for related sources. Mississippi’s program provides free, non-regulatory assistance to affected sources through outreach and on-site technical assistance.

§ 49-17-45. Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance program; Small Business Compliance Advisory Panel.

The Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality, acting through the Department of Environmental Quality, shall establish and administer, in accordance with the Federal Clean Air Act, the Mississippi Small Business Stationary Source Technical and Environmental Compliance Assistance Program (PROGRAM).

Environmental Justice

MDEQ’s Office of Community Engagement demonstrates an Agency-wide commitment to address Environmental Justice consistent with the MDEQ’s mission.  Through the Office of Community Engagement, MDEQ offers a comprehensive public participation approach to identifying and addressing environmental justice requiring: the early involvement of affected communities and other stakeholders, partnerships, leveraging of resources, and collaboration.