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A Review of Executive Order 12898
A Review of the Department of Energy’s Implementation of Executive Order 12898 and Recommendations for a Second Five-Year Strategic Plan.

Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898

On February 11, 1994, Executive Order (EO) 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations was signed. EO 12898 states, among other things, that “each federal agency shall develop an agency-wide environmental justice strategy that identifies and addresses disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations.”

Twenty years later, the U.S. Department of Energy (Department) remains committed to the principles of environmental justice and continues to build upon the legacy of that historic EO 12898. For example, the Department released its Environmental Justice Strategy (Strategy) in 2008. Along with the Strategy, the Department released the Environmental Justice Five-Year Implementation Plan, and this year its Environmental Justice Five-Year Implementation Plan Third and Fourth Annual Progress Reports.

The Strategy is a 5-year plan which commits the Department to the following goals:

  • Identify and address programs, policies, and activities of the Department that may have disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income, and tribal populations.
  • Enhance the credibility and public trust of the Department by further making public participation a fundamental component of all program operations, planning activities, and decision-making processes.
  • Improve research and data collection methods relating to human health and the environment of minority, low-income, and tribal populations.
  • Further Departmental leadership by integrating environmental justice with activities and processes related to human health and the environment.

On August 4, 2011, the Department, along with 16 other federal agencies signed an environmental justice Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). 

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