DeKalb commissioner proposes resident-led environmental justice commission

From the Saporta Report

by Mark Lannaman

Published: April 26, 2024 3:37 pm

Last week, Commissioner Ted Terry (DeKalb District 6) introduced a resolution to create a resident-led environmental justice commission that would enable citizens to more directly influence environmental policy in their communities.

The reason behind the introduced legislation and an increased focus on environmental justice is a simple matter of due diligence, Commissioner Terry said.

“DeKalb County residents have voiced their concerns to me loud and clear: They need to be at the heart of the decisions that affect their environment and health,” Commissioner Terry said in a press release. “The DeKalb Environmental Justice Commission will provide for collaboration, transparency and ensure accountability to those we serve so that we can create a more equitable and sustainable future for all of DeKalb County.” 

The commission is in line with President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, ensuring that 40 percent of certain federal legislation makes its way into stressed communities who need it most.

“There’s eight or nine census tracts in DeKalb County that fit the criteria of having a combination of high pollution and other socioeconomic factors that really point to individuals and communities being on the front lines of a lot of environmental injustices,” Terry said. 

Terry said the commission is being modeled after similar proposals at the state level, although the state Environmental Justice Commission was not passed this past legislative session. Still, the necessity of environmental justice commissions remains a priority even on local scales.

Having served in DeKalb County as a commissioner since 2020, and before that as Mayor of Clarkston from 2013 to 2022, Terry said he’s become quite familiar with some of the environmental concerns around the community. 

These concerns include the Seminole Road Landfill which can produce unbearable odors for neighboring residents that were promised a small landfill decades ago. Other concerns include sewer overflow into the South River as well as the latest developments from the Public Service Commision and Georgia Power which has been steadily increasing rates, exacerbating energy burdens on stressed households.

The press release details what the commission would entail:

  • Organizational meetings and public hearings
  • Preparing budget considerations for the Board of Commissioners
  • Preparing model legislation for consideration by the Board of Commissioners
  • Monitoring progress and making recommendations toward DeKalb County’s current environmental efforts
  • Providing quarterly updates to the Board of Commissioners
  • Conduct scientific analyses and generate comprehensive reports on the state of environmental justice in DeKalb County

The legislation was added to the public agenda this past Tuesday and referred to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, where Terry and two other commissioners serve. There, lawmakers hope to refine the legislation with the hopes of another draft in June. If adopted, the commission would start in March of 2025 and have a five-year initial term.

Commissioner Terry Board of Commissioners Announcements – 4/23/2024

2024 Earth Day Launch Successfully Is In The History Book!

The Super District 6 Team and I had a great time celebrating Earth Day with nearly 100 DeKalb County residents over the weekend on April 20. We started the morning with thoughtful discussions on climate solutions and Environmental Justice, spent the afternoon planting fruit trees and pollinator habitat at the Chamblee Library Productive Urban Landscape, and rounded out the day by enjoying the sunset at DeKalb County’s natural wonder, Arabia Mountain.

Thank you to all our friends that joined us! A special thank you to the DeKalb County Team: Commissioner Michelle Long Spears and the District 2 team, Planning and Sustainability Department, Public Works Department, Porter Sanford staff, Chamblee Library staff, Arabia National Heritage Alliance, and our Park Rangers and Naturalists for joining us in making the day extra awesome!

Team Terry Has Just Begun!

These discussions do not end after Earth Day, because EVERY DAY we should cherish and celebrate!!!  And to keep the momentum going, mark your calendar with a Save the Date!

My office will be hosting another Environmental Justice event, 9 am on Saturday, June 29 at New Life Church and Community Center. Click here to RSVP.

For more information on this event, the DeKalb Green New Deal, and what my office is doing to prioritize Environmental Justice in DeKalb County you can visit my website

Stay In The Know

There is a lot going on that impacts District 6.  In an effort to save time, I want to remind or invite you to connect with me on my website or either Facebook or Instagram. My handle is Commissioner Ted Terry.

  1. Make sure you are prepared and have a plan! It has been reported on the news, through local media outlets, email blasts, and social media… Beginning Friday, April 26th, GDOT will begin the work on the North Druid Hills Bridge causing a 90-day bridge closure and detour to SR 42/North Druid Hills Road bridge over North Fork Peachtree Creek for this key bridge replacement. Georgia DOT wants you to plan ahead.

DeKalb County and GDOT have been collaborating and have a plan in place, but there will be impacts that packing your patience will be the main way to get through this. 

Signage is going up, traffic lights are being synchronized and … DeKalb Police will do what they can to route traffic but remember that an abundance and distraction of “blue lights” and police activity can slow things down even more.

My office will continue to work with the Administration and commission district offices to share any information we receive,

but for the quickest and newest, GDOT is encouraging you to sign up for alerts at

  • Today is the last day to apply for the 2024 DeKalb Virtual Career Academy (DVCA) summer jobs training program for the five-week program, which runs from June 3 through July 5.

DVCA will provide 700 internships to DeKalb residents ages 14 to 24, who will be paid $10 per hour.

The academy encompasses a variety of elements, including academic enhancement, counseling, career and credentialing training, GED preparation, and motivational workshops.

Visit to apply.

  • On my Facebook you will also see that the Model Atlanta Regional Commission (MARC) youth leadership program is accepting applications for their 2024-2025 class. The applications are due by Friday, May 3rd and space is limited.

MARC has engaged hundreds of students in experiential learning with the region’s leaders and experts in transportation, natural resource sustainability, community development, and more.

  • Our distinguished Sheriff Melody Maddox will be hosting the Boys to Men & Girls to Pearls summer camp.  Once again, the flyer is on my Facebook with all of the application and camp information.
  • Our AWESOME PAL Plus program with the DeKalb County Police Department has a wonderful swimming program for youth. From scared of water to unstoppable is the goal with their swimming program. For information about this, please send an email to
  • The DeKalb County Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs will hold four guided walking tours to review trail and greenway improvements along the County’s trail network on Saturday, May 4.

The community is invited to help shape the future of the County’s trail and greenway network through the Trail and Greenway Master Plan planning process.

There is also a lot of wonderful events for all ages.  Please visit their webpage on the DeKalb County website and familiarize yourself with the plethora of resources they offer.  There is also summer camp, youth sports, and information about the annual Senior Olympics which begins May 6th!

  • Decide DeKalb Development Authority, the leading economic development organization in DeKalb County, is launching a DeKalb County Black Business Guide and is actively accepting entries.

This comprehensive guide aims to celebrate and highlight the vibrant spectrum of Black-owned businesses throughout the county. If you are a Black Business in DeKalb County, visit my Facebook for the flyer with the QR Code to get started.

  • The PDK Good Neighbor Day Air Show and Open House is May 11 and this one is special! It commemorates the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the day, June 6, 1944, in World War II on which Allied forces invaded northern France by means of beach landings in Normandy.

Bring your entire family out to PDK to see antique airplanes, military aircrafts, and DeKalb County fire trucks and ambulances on display at PDK during the open house from noon until 5 p.m.

Gates will open at 10 a.m.

There is no admission charge but parking is $20 per vehicle.

In closing a few “calls to action”

  • Reminding District 6 that the DeKalb County Animal Shelter is still seeking volunteers to walk shelter dogs.  Pet families know how important it is to socialize and exercise dogs and for those who are stuck in shelters it is critical and can impact coveted adoption opportunities!!!
  • Email Brian Cooke- for additional information or visit my Facebook Commissioner Ted Terry for a QR code.

And lastly, emailing is the most efficient means of communications. I may not have an immediate answer or be able to make an immediate resolve, but I can promise that my office will forward your concerns to the respective department head for assistance. 

My email address is easy… Ted@DeKalb  Phone calls are routed if you call my office number, 404-371-4909. 

Commissioner Ted Terry Introduces Resolution to Create a Resident-Led Environmental Justice Commission

The proposal for this Commission is in direct response to residents’ call for inclusion in decisions about environmental policies impacting their communities.

DEKALB COUNTY– Today, Commissioner Ted Terry (D-District 6) introduced a resolution that will give DeKalb County residents a voice in addressing environmental justice issues that have plagued their communities. This Commission will ensure DeKalb County prioritizes environmental justice initiatives and remains aligned with the Biden Administration’s Justice40 Initiative

Commissioner Terry’s call for the DeKalb Environmental Justice Commission is a direct response to residents’ call for greater transparency in current and ongoing environmental efforts, like DeKalb County’s consent decree, as well as greater inclusion and equity in environmental decision-making to ensure that all community members, especially those historically underserved and overburdened by pollution, are at the table.

“DeKalb County residents have voiced their concerns to me loud and clear: they need to be at the heart of the decisions that affect their environment and health,” said Commissioner Terry. “The DeKalb Environmental Justice Commission will provide for collaboration, transparency and ensure accountability to those we serve so that we can create a more equitable and sustainable future for all of DeKalb County.” 

The responsibilities of the proposed Environmental Commission include holding organizational meetings and public hearings, preparing budget considerations for the Board of Commissioners, preparing model legislation for consideration by the Board of Commissioners, monitoring progress and making recommendations towards DeKalb County’s current environmental efforts, and providing quarterly updates to the Board of Commissioners. They will also conduct scientific analyses and generate comprehensive reports on the state of environmental justice in DeKalb County.