DOE continues to collaborate with federal, state, local, tribal, and other partners on place-based initiatives to help overburdened communities proactively address emerging environmental challenges in ways that build long-term sustainability. Examples of these activities follow.

Congressional Black Caucus Environmental Justice Braintrust (Braintrust)

Congressman (SC)  James E. Clyburn

Congressman (SC) James E. Clyburn

Established in 1999 and convened annually by Congressman James E. Clyburn (Democrat–South Carolina) at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference, the Braintrust brings together stakeholders from various backgrounds, including environmental experts, policy-makers, media professionals, and community activists to discuss issues related to EJ. The goal of the EJ Braintrust is to identify environmental issues and to recommend strategies that will assist policymakers in developing forward- thinking, comprehensive environmental policy that recognizes and fosters the unique relationship between environmental protection, human health, EJ, and economic development.

On September 22, 2017, the Braintrust presented a session entitled, INFRASTRUCTURE. The Braintrust focuses on the unique relationship between environmental protection, environmental justice, economic development, and human health.                                               

The 2018 Braintrust: A Focus on the Wealth Gap in the United States was held Friday, September 14, 2018, at the Washington Convention Center. The panelists were: Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, President, Tennessee State University; International President, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Nashville, Tennessee; Mr. Larry D. Bailey, President, LDB Consulting, Incorporated, Washington, DC; and Reverend Marvin Owens, Jr., Senior Director, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Economic Department, Baltimore, Maryland.

For additional information:

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund)

One of DOE’s initiatives includes working with EPA to collaborate on CERCLA activities in Tennessee. The Superfund site is near a community and it is also on the National Priorities List. DOE is the lead agency responsible for implementing cleanup of the site. EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation oversee DOE activities, pursuant to the Federal Facility Agreement (FFA). FFA establishes priorities for cleanup and an annual enforceable schedule for addressing those cleanup priorities. EJ principles applied, as part of these priorities, ensured greater public participation and promoted enforcement of all health and environmental statutes in areas with minority population and low-income populations, American Indian Tribes, and Alaska Natives.

In many urban areas — especially those that are overburdened or underserved — every resource count. Clean water is the one resource that is often taken for granted but is also most vital. Each of us relies on clean water every day from the water we drink, shower, and swim in, to the water we use to feed our crops. But its value is larger than that. Clean water helps communities thrive, playing a key role in helping grow local businesses, and enhancing educational, recreational, and social opportunities in the areas through which it passes. Urban communities know this, and across the country, local groups are working to restore their water resources and reconnect their communities to them. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership is committed to supporting these communities in that action — helping them reclaim the water resources that are vital to their success.

Federal Partners:

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Department of the Army
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • Corporation for National and Community Service
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Department of the Interior
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
  • U.S. Economic Development Administration
  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency,
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

by federal agencies and coordinated by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Domestic Policy Council, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership closely aligns with, and advances the work of, the White House’s place-based efforts, including the Partnership for Sustainable Communities and the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative, to revitalize communities, create jobs and improve the quality of life in cities and towns across the nation.

For more information regarding this partnership, visit:

Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) and Tri-Party Agreement (TPA)

DOE collaborates with the EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. The Oak Ridge Reservation FFA was implemented on January 1, 1992. It is a CERCLA-required agreement to promote cooperation and participation to clean and remediate the Oak Ridge Reservation. The FFA establishes priorities for cleanup and annual enforceable schedule for addressing those cleanup priorities.

The FFA and Consent Order TPA support achieving compliance with CERCLA. DOE management remained focused on assuring public input was solicited and incorporated into changes that were proposed or made. Assessments were conducted to assure that the views and values of tribal nation representatives, minority populations, and low-income populations, American Indian Tribes, and Alaska Natives were incorporated into the DOE Hanford site’s decision-making processes.

The Department supports five Public Information Repositories (PIR) (Seattle, Portland, Spokane, and two in the Tri-Cities regions) to provide public access to information on TPA activities. Documents are available for public review and comments. PIRs also provide computers and assistance for the public to electronically access information in the Administrative Record. Events calendars provide lists of upcoming public activities including documents out for public review.

Joint DOE Federal and Contractor Environmental Attorneys’ Training

On May 3, 2017, and May 2, 2018, the DOE EJ Program Manager provided support and speaker coordination, at the Joint DOE Federal and Contractor Environmental Attorneys’ Training. In addition, the EJ Program Manager shared her time with representatives of the IWG EJ from the Department of Justice who provided updates on the activities of the IWG EJ, including: The Promising Practices for EJ Methodologies in NEPA Reviews, Community Guide to Environmental Justice and NEPA Methods, and activities of the Native American/Alaska Committee. Milton Bluehouse, Jr., expert tribal training advisory consultant, provided an overview of Tribal and Intergovernmental Relationships. Other topics in the training included: Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution, Tribal Update, Natural Resources Damages, and Migratory Birds.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

DOE follows site procedures to engage tribes on NEPA  processes such as early notice, informal briefings, and extended opportunities to participate in formal hearings. Tribal governments and tribal citizens are registered on an 8,000+ list server that pushes out information to the public of National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) NEPA-related activities. The automated system serves by:

  1. Placing telephone calls to tribal leadership and their respective environmental authorities;
  2. Submitting copies of relevant documents to both contacts on the day of release; and
  3. Following the outreach by telephone to confirm receipt and to offer informal briefings and possible cross-agency participation. Four such efforts were implemented in 2018 on a variety of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) NEPA proposed actions.

Small, Disadvantaged, and Minority Businesses

The Department implements community outreach requirements under a revised LANL M&O Contract, including provisions for technical assistance, educational outreach, regional purchasing, economic development, small and disadvantaged purchasing programs, diversity, and advance notice of transportation and detonation schedules. The laboratory continues to exceed annual targets for purchases from small, disadvantaged, and minority businesses; over 50% of the annual buys are from this sector.

Urban Waters Federal Partnership

This partnership reconnects urban communities, particularly those that are overburdened or economically distressed, with their waterways by improving coordination among federal agencies and collaborating with community-led revitalization efforts to improve our nation’s water systems and promote their economic, environmental, and social benefits. Specifically, the Urban Waters Federal Partnership:

  • Breaks down federal program silos to promote more efficient and effective use of federal resources through better coordination and targeting of federal investments.
  • Recognizes and builds on local efforts and leadership by engaging and serving community partners.
  • Works with local officials and effective community-based organizations to leverage area resources and stimulate local economies to create local jobs.
  • Learns from early and visible victories to fuel long-term action.