Environmental Justice

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The Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to promoting environmental justice in all its activities in keeping with Executive Order (EO) 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.  EO 12898 directs each Federal agency to "make achieving environmental justice (EJ) part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations, American Indian Tribes, and Alaska Natives.”

The 2011 Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice directed each of the 17 Federal agencies to update their EJ Strategy and submit an annual Environmental Justice Implementation Progress Report on the anniversary of EO 12898.

The document, Environmental Justice: Guidance Under the National Environmental Policy Act, prepared by the Council on Environmental Quality offers the following six principles for environmental justice analyses to determine any disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects to low-income populations, minority populations, American Indian Tribes, and Alaska Natives.

  1. Consider the composition of the affected area to determine whether low-income populations, minority populations, American Indian Tribes, and Alaska Natives are present and whether there may be disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on these populations.
  2. Consider relevant public health and industry data concerning the potential for multiple exposures or cumulative exposure to human health or environmental hazards in the affected population, as well as historical patterns of exposure to environmental hazards.
  3. Recognize the interrelated cultural, social, occupational, historical, or economic factors that may amplify the natural and physical environmental effects of the proposed action.
  4. Develop effective public participation strategies.
  5. Assure meaningful community representation early on in the process.
  6. Seek Tribal representation in the process.

Sustainability Support Information Brief describes DOE’s strategy for complying with the EO. More detailed information on that strategy is available at http://energy.gov/lm/services/environmental-justice.

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