About Chester Environmental Partnership
Our mission is to improve and sustain a higher quality of life, clearer and healthier environment for the residents of the city of Chester and the Commonwealth, while attracting positive economic development, sustainable growth, economic opportunities for the residents of Chester, and reducing air emission and negative environmental exposures to the citizens through collaborative partnerships.
The Chester Environmental Partnership (CEP) is a broad-based organization with representation from the community, federal, state, and local government, local solid waste incineration facilities, businesses, local churches, non-profit organizations, universities, and a number of developers committed to improving the environment in Chester and surrounding communities as they build for the future. Current Members of CEP include:
*The University of Pennsylvania [www.epa.gov]
*Chester City Government [www.chestercity.org]
*Widener University [
*Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3 [www.epa.gov]
*PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) [www.depweb.state.pa.us]
*Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP) [www.piicop.org]
Rev. Dr. Horace W. Strand, Sr.
Chester-Upland School District to 11 grade; United States Marine Corps and graduated Kubasaki Far East Dependent School in Okinawa, Japan – honorable discharge from the Marines and graduated from Faith School of Theology in Charleston, Maine.
In 1979, founded the Faith Temple Holy Church and awarded Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity at Jameson College, Philadelphia. In 1992, founder and 1st Chair of Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL), to address clustering of environmentally unsafe facilities within the community. CRCQL provided testimony to NEJAC concerning adverse environmental conditions in Chester and in 1996, filed a lawsuit against the PA DEP alleging the Department’s waste facilities permitting process violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Right Act and EPA’s implementing regulations because it disproportionately impacted the predominately African American Chester residents. The case reached the US Supreme Court and received national attention.
These actions were instrumental in PA’s and EPA’s EJ policy goals and actions.
In 2005, Dr. Strand founded the Faith Temple Environmental Initiative (FTEI), an outgrowth of CRCQL to address worsening conditions in Chester due to Agencies and regulations inaction and the lack of community cohesiveness. Under the umbrella of FTEI and an Environmental Support Center (ESC) grant; the Chester Environmental Partnership (CDEP) was developed. The CEP hosted a leadership seminar for the purpose of educating and training Chester leadership about environmental health risks and promoting a healthier environment while attracting economic development and fostering jobs for Chester residents. The CEP consists of a coalition of local, state and federal government officials, academia and student representation profit and non-profit organizations, and community and faith-based leadership. The CEP addresses zoning, land use, permitting, environmental health and environmental health risk intervention, smart growth, and partnerships to improve the quality of life and safety of the resident. Accomplishments include: Federal Environmental Protection Agency National Environmental Justice Advisory Council; Chairman of the CEP; PA DEP Environmental Justice Advisory Board member, 1st Environmental Justice Conference in Chester, Delaware County; EPA Brownfields EJ Caucus at the PA Academy of Natural Sciences; Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Environmental Justice Task Force; University of Penn Stakeholder Advisory Board member for Community Outreach and Engagement Core (COEC), Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET); 1st Chester City Host Municipal Inspectors; EPA Collaborative Agreement for Asthma Prevention Project with Crozer Keystone Hospital and received EPA Level 1 Care Grant through Philadelphia Public Interest Law Center. Dr. Strand is President of Delaware Sub-district churches with the United Holy Church of America North District Convocation, Chester Nehemiah Project Director; an active Chester CDC; Advisor to Lloyd Street Civic Association, Board member of Harrisburg, PA Reach Alliance; Diamond member of Black Alliance for Educational Options. Awards: NAACP 1995 George Raymond Freedom, 2009 Wawa Environmental Community Service, 201- PA Resource Council, Inc. Community Service.
STATEMENT OF INTEREST:
“My more than 20 years of experience in environmental justice has taught me that the problems with EJ are national and worldwide. My expertise and experience will help other communities who are struggling with similar EJ issues today. I am also impressed with the present leadership and direction of the NEJAC and it would be an honor to serve with the NEJAC members that have a grip on what needs to be done to solve problems of environmental justice in America.”
Mrs. Dietra Connor
Mrs. Conner is the Community Outreach Coordinator and member of the Chester Environmental Partnership. She has been passionately involved in the fight for environmental awareness issues since her youth. Born and raised in the City of Chester and having lived on W. 2nd Street, she was able to observe, firsthand, many of the serious issues that negatively impact a community dealing with environmental justice issues. As a youth, she can remember marching from Chester to the Media Courthouse with a group of residents pushing a casket to raise awareness about environmental justice issues. The awareness that her parents fostered in her youth played a pivotal role in keeping her actively involved in the continual fight for environmental justice. Mrs. Conner has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Messiah College, Grantham, PA and Masters of Arts Degree in Educational Leadership, Principal K-12 and Curriculum Supervision from Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA.
She continues to serve her community as an Elementary School Principal, teacher and mentor. Dietra believes that education and environmental awareness from youth is essential to continuing the fight to protect our environment, hold those accountable who harm it, and raise up a more environmentally conscious society. Mrs. Conner and her husband, Bruce, have three children.