Government and Nongovermental Organizations

Governmental Agencies

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an agency of the federal government of the United States that is charged with protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by congress.


The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is a regulatory agency charged with protecting air, water, land quality. The links below are provided to make researching easier:

  • Current directory of current contacts within each section of DEQ. This pdf provides the contact information and what they specialize in.  The divison and telephone number is provided. The Who does What List

  • Environmental Emergencies: If you need to report an environmental emergency situtation, please dial the 24 hour Pollution Emergeny Alert System (PEAS) at 1-800-292-4706

  • Emergency planning and Community Right to Know: Title III of the Superfund Amendments and Reuthorization Act (“SARA Title III”) is also known as the community Right-to-Know-Act (EPCRA). This has four main components.

    Photography by Daniel Shea

  1. Hazardous Chemical Inventory
  2. Toxic Chemical Release Inventory
  3. Emergency Planning and Notification
  4. Emergency Release Notification
  • Site Map: This is an appendix of resources the DEQ has to offer.

The Michigan Clean Diesel Initiative (MiCDI) is a group of government, industry, and nonprofit organizations working together to address diesel engine pollution in Michigan. The objective is to improve air quality through federal air quality standards.

  • To file a complaint with the DEQ during regular business hours, you can call (313) 456-4700 for emergencies or after hours, please call (800) 292-4706. Be sure to call while the problem is occuring, request the name of the DEQ employee you speak to, and provide a detailed description of the problem.


The City Council of Detroit is responsible for zoning decisons which allow industry to exist adjacent to residential areas and schools. The city’s zoning ordinance is a legal document which includes descriptions of uses permitted in various zones and a map with the locations of those zones. Because zoning is a governmental process, formulating an effective complaint is a bit more complex.

Photograph by Marcin Szczepanski

“As the environmental justice movement refocuses for the 21st century, it also seeks to increase and support the green economy and increase collaboration between grassroots environmental justice and community groups and governmental agencies”.

Sandra Svoboda

Non-governmental Organizations

The Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision is a coaliton of residents, community organizations, agencies, business and industry working together to improve the environment  and strengthen the economy of Southwest Detroit


The East Michigan Environmental Action Council (EMEAC)


The Southwest Detroit Community Benefits Coalition is hosting the New International Trade Crossing (NITC) project. Southwest Detroit already hosts a number of transportation projects.


Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice (DWEJ) is organized to empower individuals and communities in Southeast Michigan to educate, advocate, and organize for cleaner and healthier communities and environments.


Michigan Environmental Council is a coalition of more than 70 organizations. MEC promotes public policies for environmental sustainability in Michigan. Their broad and considerable priorities—for which they lobby to politicians in Detroit and Lansing—include energy, public health, and clean water.


Green Door Initiative is a nonprofit that focuses on environmental literacy and helping people understand how to adopt sustainable lifestyles. Located on the city’s east side, the initiative works to works to reverse the adverse impacts of toxic industrial legacies, cllimate change and poor past land use. Programs include job training and youth advocacy.


The Sierra Club and Rhonda Anderson

The Sierra Club’s standing mission is to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.  In their community partnership with activists in Detroit, Michigan, they take this mission one step farther to combat environmental racism.  Rhonda Anderson is the Sierra Club’s Detroit  community organizer, who helps support local initiatives for environmental justice.

Rhonda Anderson, photo courtesy of Sierra Club

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