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LSPA Urges Covid-19 Vaccine Priority for LSPs

Earlier this week the LSPA sent a letter to the two Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials leading the Massachusetts Covid-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, urging them to consider appropriate Covid-19 vaccine priority for LSPs and other workers who address spills of oil and hazardous materials, and conduct waste site assessment and remediation. These professionals should be prioritized in Phase 2 of the Commonwealth's vaccine distribution timeline, as they are no less essential to public health and safety than sanitation, public works and public health workers, or water and wastewater utility staff.
 
Our letter provides more context and detail. 
 
The LSPA has also heard from MassDEP that the prioritization of LSPs has been discussed amongst MassDEP senior staff.  Our understanding is that while this is still in the process of being sorted out, the Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup has asked that LSPs be considered similar to MassDEP's Emergency Response staff in Phase 2 - just like waste water treatment plant operators and others.

We know that many of you are eager for your vaccine and we will keep LSPA membership apprised as we learn more.


Ethan Mascoop Presented with First LSPA Environmental Justice Award

At our December 15, 2020 member meeting, Ethan Mascoop was honored with the LSPA's first Environmental Justice Award. This award is presented to an individual or organization from the public, non-profit, or private sector for recent or continuing outstanding contributions in increasing awareness of environmental justice (EJ) issues and/or supporting EJ communities. Carol Bois, LSPA Past President, presented the award to Mr. Mascoop, MPH, MUA (Master of Urban Affairs). She said that "Ethan has devoted most of his working career to public service; he is a public health trailblazer and activist seeking to bring attention to areas that have historically been overlooked. Ethan was the Director of Public Health in Framingham, MA from 2008 to 2013. In 2011, I began working with Ethan on various environmental issues associated with MCP sites in the Town (now City) of Framingham and have witnessed his dedication to and action on public health issues firsthand, especially his commitment to improving public health for the underserved, such as Environmental Justice communities."
 
Ethan currently works as an independent consultant on housing conditions, indoor air quality, Title V compliance, and other occupational and public health issues; he also teaches graduate public health students as an Adjunct Clinical Professor at Boston University's School of Public Health.

While he was the Director of Public Health in Framingham, Ethan drove the City to become more of an advocate and active participant in decisions affecting local hazardous waste site cleanups under the MCP. The City has continued that legacy through the present day.

As one example out of many, he provided a voice to community health and environmental concerns about decades-long contamination created by operations from General Chemical Corporation, one of the largest hazardous waste sites in Framingham.

Ethan's efforts, supported by the Board of Health and the LSPs working with him, resulted in the company, the City, and MassDEP responding to the community's concerns - after years of the contamination languishing with little or no movement toward cleanup.

For his leadership, Ethan is recognized with the LSPA's 2020 Environmental Justice Award. Congratulations Ethan!