2012 Environmental Justice Implementation Report
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) updated the DOT Environmental Justice Strategy in February 2012; in implementing this Strategy, DOT has focused on the goals of increasing transparency, public engagement, and intermodal harmonization within the Department. In addition to ongoing work considering EJ as part of the NEPA analyses for infrastructure improvements, the Department has also hosted or supported extensive training opportunities on EJ, and has published new and revised guidance and regulations to improve consistency across the Department. The Department cooperates with other Federal Agencies through the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice in order to integrate Environmental Justice principles into Federal programs, policies, and activities. Further, DOT participates in a subgroup on EJ through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development and other agencies, which promotes Federal action to encourage sustainable communities with a variety of housing and transportation choices. This report details some of the specific activities undertaken to support Environmental Justice at DOT during 2012.
Updates to the EJ Order, May 2012
The DOT EJ Strategy called for the Department to revisit the Departmental Order 5610.2 (Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations) and to make any necessary revisions and updates since its original publication in April 1997. On May 2, 2012, DOT published a revised Order 5610.2(a), which continues to be a key component of the Department's strategy to promote the principles of environmental justice in all Departmental programs, policies, and activities.
DOT Order 5610.2(a) sets forth the DOT policy to consider environmental justice principles in all DOT programs, policies, and activities. It describes how the objectives of environmental justice will be integrated into planning and programming, rulemaking, and policy formulation. The Order sets forth steps to prevent disproportionately high and adverse effects to minority or low-income populations through Title VI analyses and environmental justice analyses conducted as part of Federal transportation planning and NEPA provisions. It also describes the specific measures to be taken to address instances of disproportionately high and adverse effects and sets forth relevant definitions.
In updating the Order, DOT reaffirms its commitment to environmental justice and clarifies certain aspects of the original Order, including the definitions of "minority" populations in compliance with the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity of October 30, 1997. The revisions clarify the distinction between a Title VI analysis and an environmental justice analysis conducted as part of a NEPA review, and affirm the importance of considering environmental justice principles as part of early planning activities in order to avoid disproportionately high and adverse effects. The updated Order maintains the original Order's general framework and procedures and DOT's commitment to promoting the principles of environmental justice in all DOT programs, policies, and activities.
Environmental Justice Forum, July 2012
On July 17, 2012, DOT hosted a forum on Environmental Justice for transportation practitioners. This training was made available to staff from State and local DOTs, and MPOs, and was an opportunity to learn about the recent changes in Environmental Justice, including the changes to the DOT Order and the recently released FTA Circular on EJ. The objectives of the training were to share promising practices for conducting EJ assessments; learn about tools and strategies for public engagement, transparency, and accountability; and identify policy and program solutions to address emerging needs in environmental justice at the federal, state, and local levels. Through a series a break-out sessions, case-studies, and roundtable discussions, participants were able to learn new techniques and share best practices for successful public involvement. The day included a working lunch during which participants had an opportunity to engage in discussions about 10 different case studies or best practices, including the use of social media, partnerships with community colleges, and online dialogues. Participants also heard from a panel of community stakeholders, who shared their views for how to successfully engage environmental justice communities.
This forum was also an opportunity for grantees to identify areas of concern or confusion in the field of Environmental Justice analyses, and to share these concerns with staff and leadership at the USDOT. A report summarizing the events of the day and the best practices shared is being written and will be made available on the DOT website for practitioners who were unable to attend in person.
Initiatives within the DOT Operating Administrations
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ensures compliance with EO 12898 and incorporates Environmental Justice core principles into its actions primarily through implementation of the NEPA process. FAA Order 1050.1E (Environmental Impacts: Policies and Procedures) contains the FAA agency-wide policies and procedures for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Currently, FAA Order 1050.E provides guidance to FAA NEPA practitioners on compliance with special purpose laws, regulations, executive orders, and other requirements, including Environmental Justice. Further information can be found in Order 1050.1E, Appendix A, Section 16, page A-69 at https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/order/energy_orders/1050-1E.pdf). In addition to this FAA agency-wide order, the FAA Office of Airports has issued guidance for compliance with Environmental Justice requirements for its actions. That guidance is found in Chapter 10 of the Environmental Desk Reference for Airport Actions.
FAA is in the process of revising Order 1050.1E and developing a Desk Reference. One of the Desk Reference Chapters will include Environmental Justice and will provide guidance to NEPA practitioners on how to implement the DOT Environmental Justice Strategy. The Final Desk reference is expected to be available by the end of 2013.
The FAA Office of Civil Rights has drafted order 1400.11, "Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs at the Federal Aviation Administration." This order will provide internal guidance for implementation and enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and Environmental Justice in Minority Populations. Additionally, order 1400.11 will identify the procedures for coordinating the review of airport projects for compliance with Title VI and Executive Order 12898. This order is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. FAA's Office of Civil Rights formed a working partnership with the Office of Airports and developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU provides for the Office of Civil Rights under a 3-year pilot program to review the environmental justice section of Environmental Impact Statements for major airport projects; e.g., new airports, new runways, and major runway extensions, to determine if minority communities are adversely affected. The Office of Civil Rights and the Office of Airports also developed a Title VI Pre-Award Checklist to assist airport sponsors in meeting minority population reporting requirements.
Federal Transit Administration
FTA was a key participant at the July 17 EJ Forum. FTA senior leadership shared their knowledge and experience in organized panel discussions and addressed attendee questions in breakout sessions and during the open house.
On July 17, FTA issued new guidance to help recipients of FTA grant funding better understand and comply with EJ principles. FTA Circular 4703.1, Environmental Justice Policy Guidance for Federal Transit Administration Recipients became effective on August 15 and is the first stand-alone FTA guidance issued to address the intent of the 1994 Executive Order. The guidance reiterates recommendations to Metropolitan Planning Organizations, public transportation providers, State Departments of Transportation, and other recipients of FTA funds on how to fully engage EJ populations in the public transportation decision-making process; how to determine whether EJ populations would be subjected to disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects as a result of a transportation plan, project, or activity; and how to avoid, minimize, or mitigate these effects. The Circular does not present new requirements for funding recipients but emphasizes it is critically important to involve EJ communities early in the planning and environmental review processes that determine which transit services and projects will ultimately serve them.
In addition to the EJ Circular, FTA issued revised guidance, effective October 1, to help recipients of FTA grant funding better understand and comply with federal Title VI requirements. Circular 4702.1B, Title VI Requirements and Guidelines for Federal Transit Administration Recipients, provides guidance on how to comply with DOT's Title VI regulations. The regulations require careful evaluation of the impact of proposed service and fare changes on minority riders, and the provision of language access to persons with limited English proficiency. One of the significant changes to the Title VI circular was the removal of several references to EJ that will help transit agencies better understand the important distinction between Title VI and EJ.
FTA held a series of Webinars to review the content of the EJ Circular and to provide specific guidance on how our grant recipients should incorporate EJ review into their transportation planning and NEPA efforts. FTA held an internal Webinar designed for FTA Headquarters and Regional staff on September 18. FTA partnered with the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation in a free Webinar for the public, Addressing Environmental Justice in Transportation Planning Practice, on September 20. The Webinar was organized under a cooperative agreement with FHWA and in partnership with the American Planning Association's Transportation Planning Division. FTA hosted three external Webinars open to grant recipients, staff at MPOs, State DOTs, tribal organizations, and consulting firms on October 11, November 8, and December 11. The three Webinars drew 600 participants and brought together individuals working on EJ from all sectors of the transportation industry.
FTA continued its participation in the NEPA Committee of Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on EJ and on associated subcommittees - the Community of Practice Subcommittee and Education Subcommittee. The Community of Practice Subcommittee is creating a model EJ/NEPA checklist for use by NEPA practitioners. The Education Subcommittee is focusing on creating a national training module for EJ analyses in the NEPA process.
FTA established a separate review and tracking process for EJ analyses conducted under NEPA review based on the analysis framework documented in the EJ Circular. In addition, FTA updated our planning protocols to clarify how to satisfy EJ considerations in each step of the transportation planning process. Finally, FTA will be developing a training module for its Grantees on the application of EJ to transportation planning, programming and project development. FTA hopes to finalize this training in 2013.
Federal Railroad Administration
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) ensures compliance with EO 12898 and incorporates Environmental Justice core principles into its actions primarily through implementation of the NEPA process. Where environmental justice communities may be present, a community impact assessment is typically completed as part of the NEPA documentation.
FRA also participated in the July DOT EJ Forum, which offered practitioners an opportunity to learn best practices for conducting EJ analyses on multimodal infrastructure projects, including those that involve rail infrastructure.
FRA has recently launched a new public website, and plans to include EJ-specific content on the environment page in Winter 2013.
Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration
On February 22, PHMSA signed its EJ Policy committing to integrating EJ principles into its programmatic and regulatory processes, such as its legislative proposals, financial assistance programs, special permit request and review processes, rulemaking processes and environmental analyses.
Federal Highway Administration
The Federal Highway Administration conducts an array of activities relating to Environmental Justice. Multiple Offices, Field Offices, and research/technical assistance groups within FHWA conducted Environmental Justice activities in 2012. This report summarizes some of the key activities that were obtained through a call for information. Response to this call for information was strong, and future calls for information are likely to produce even more information about Environmental Justice activities at FHWA.
FHWA Headquarters conducted a wide variety of activities and accomplishments relating to Environmental Justice, including adoption of policy documents, publications/research, training, and other projects.
- In June 2012, FHWA released Order 6640.23A, FHWA Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. This is an updated version of the previous Order 6640.23, which was released in 1998. The Order establishes the policies and procedures for the FHWA to use in complying with Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (EO 12898), and dated February 11, 1994. (see: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/legsregs/directives/orders/664023a.cfm)
- The Office of Civil Rights is nearing completion of updates to FHWA's Assurances for Title VI and Other Nondiscrimination Statutes and Regulations.
- The Office of Civil Rights began updating and revising 23 CFR Part 200 (FHWA Title VI/Nondiscrimination Regulation). These revisions include the incorporation of Environmental Justice as part of nondiscrimination program implementation. It is anticipated that the formal process of revising these regulations will begin in FY2013.
- FHWA's Office of Civil Rights updated the FHWA Title VI/ Nondiscrimination Compliance Review Program. This program was recently recognized as a "best practice" by the US Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division's Coordination and Compliance Section.
Publications and Research
- In February 2012, the FHWA Environmental Justice Website was redesigned to improve readability and additional content was added.
- The Transportation Management Area (TMA) Planning Certification Review Primer was updated in 2012. This update includes a sub-chapter on "Title VI and Related Requirements," which discusses Environmental Justice issues that should be addressed during each TMA's quadrennial certification review. Available from: https://www.planning.dot.gov/Documents/Primer/intro_primer.asp#intro
- The Office of Planning, Environment, and Realty developed ten case studies focused on the consideration of environmental justice in the NEPA review of transportation projects. The case studies are meant to serve as examples of effective practices for transportation practitioners and will be made accessible through FHWA's Environmental Justice website in Winter 2013. The detailed case studies will be accompanied by a brief report summarizing lessons learned.
- A report on Environmental Justice Training Summary was developed, and will be posted to the FHWA EJ website before the end of 2012. The report summarizes the EJ training forum that US DOT hosted in July 2012.
- A set of five tribal transportation planning capacity building modules were created. These modules build upon a set created in 2004. The modules are intended to assist tribal government planners to effectively plan for transportation infrastructure and maximize the funding received. The most recent set included three modules that touch on Environmental Justice issues: Project Prioritization, Partnering and Leveraging, and Tribal Consultation. The modules will be posted at this page: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/planning/processes/tribal/training/training.cfm
- The National Highway Institute has a two day training course on Environmental Justice. This course was delivered twice in 2012 to 53 registered students. Sessions were held in Lincoln, NE on May 9-10 and Atlanta, GA on March 28-29. The target audience for this training is state, MPO, and local transportation professionals.
- New instructors were selected for the National Highway Institute Title VI and Environmental Justice course.
- A webinar on Environmental Justice in Transportation Planning Practice was held on October 20, 2012 (partnered with National Association of Development Organizations). This webinar was targeted toward professionals at regional transportation planning organizations. Available from: https://www.nado.org/events/ej-webinar/
- A webinar on Using Community Impact Assessment as an Environmental Justice Tool was held on December 6, 2012.
- The FHWA Office of Civil Rights began development of a training webinar on Environmental Justice that will be targeted at FHWA Division Office and State DOT civil rights specialists, with an emphasis on the specialists' EJ role and responsibilities.
- The FHWA Office of Civil Rights presented a training session on "Nondiscrimination Foundations of Environmental Justice and Effective Compliance: A Federal Perspective," at the bi-annual AASHTO civil rights training symposium in Detroit, August 2012. Target audiences were FHWA Division and State DOT civil rights specialists.
- In May 2012, the Office of Civil Rights conducted training for more than 350 FHWA participants for Planning, Environment, Air Quality, Realty and Civil Rights (PEAR+C) Learning Discipline which offered a unique emphasis on civil rights and environmental justice.
- FHWA and FDOT delivered EJ training to the Florida Association of State Colleges.
- FHWA's Office of Civil Rights created an Environmental Justice link on its intra-Administration Sharepoint site to provide a single source of information, policy and guidance for FHWA Civil Rights specialists. This resource is used by both Headquarters and Division staff.
- FHWA staff actively participated in the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice and the following Working Groups from the US Department of Justice: (a) NEPA and Environmental Justice;( b) Title VI and Environmental Justice; (c) Climate Change and Environmental Justice; and (d) Goods Movement and Environmental Justice
- FHWA solicited input from stakeholders on the Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP), which provides research funding for projects on emphasis areas within the DOT EJ Strategy. STEP projects will provide FHWA an opportunity to develop best practices, address challenges and barriers, and improve or streamline internal coordination and organization.
- FHWA staff participated in interagency coordination and modeling on the Louisville/Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges (SEIS) project, which is a Project of National and Regional Significance. This analysis specifically looked at diversion of traffic into low income communities. The Modified Selected Alternative for the project includes two new tolled bridges. Responding to comments on the DSEIS, FHWA conducted a detailed analysis on the potential impact of the project on minority and low-income communities. The analysis examined how changes in traffic patterns might affect Environmental Justice communities, and how tolling could affect vehicle operating costs for minority and low-income drivers.
- FHWA participated in the Poverty Simulation Exercise to raise awareness of the needs of low income in Pensacola, Florida.
FHWA Field Offices
Federal Highway Administration maintains Division Offices in each state and the District of Columbia. Division Offices are responsible for working directly with sub-recipients to implement policies, including Environmental Justice. Staff members at Division offices play a critical role in upholding Environmental Justice, because they work directly with stakeholders, grantees, and the general public. Divisions were active in six general areas that support Environmental Justice: (a) professional development; (b) crafting policies or guidance; (c) public engagement; (d) training; (e) technical assistance; and (f) projects and programs. In many cases, the Division partnered with the state DOT, MPO, or another partner to complete the project. FHWA Divisions were sent an email to ask about Environmental Justice activities, and twenty eight Divisions sent a response.
Professional development work consists of efforts to improve staff (including grantee staff) knowledge of Environmental Justice. This also includes building of administrative capacity to study Environmental Justice. Professional development activities in 2012 included:
- Multiple Divisions distributed and publicized USDOT Order 5610.2(a) Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. (Louisiana, Maine)
- Multiple Divisions participated in meetings of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice. (Georgia, Texas)
- District of Columbia Division authorized federal funds to be spent on attendance at a conference on Title VI/Environmental Justice.
- Maine Division provided resources and regulatory materials to state and regional partners who inquired about Environmental Justice issues.
- Maine Division participated in a listening session with the HUD/EPA/DOT Partnership Sustainable Communities.
- New Jersey Division participated in federal sustainability partnership activities that support Context Sensitive Solutions.
- FHWA and FDOT discussed current EJ processes in NEPA documents and identified the need for training in data collection and analysis.
Divisions can also play a role in setting policies or guidance. Usually this involves a partner, such as the state DOT or an MPO. Examples of policies developed in 2012 include:
- Maine Division reviewed regional data and reports produced by MPOs that mapped locations of underserved populations, based on the 2010 Census.
- New Hampshire Division developed recommendations (in partnership with FTA Region 1) during a planning review for an MPO.
- New Jersey Division adopted a statewide Complete Streets policy. Complete Streets is concerned with improved safety and aesthetics for all users of the transportation system.
- New Jersey Division worked with ridesharing and TDM services agencies on Safe Routes to School programs in low-income areas.
- Ohio Division created a more systematic statewide approach to Environmental Justice in NEPA through development of guidance for use by state DOT districts. The Guidance directs staff to use USEPA's EJ View online tool.
- Texas Division gave guidance on data collection to support low-income and limited English proficiency demographic analysis.
Public engagement is an important activity for Divisions. Examples of public engagement in 2012 were:
- Hawaii Division assisted the state DOT in developing a new Public Involvement Process Guide, including a section on communicating with Native Hawaiian groups.
- Maine Division worked with the state DOT to enhance state public participation plan.
- New Jersey Division targeted at-risk populations with an ozone pollution awareness campaign.
- New Jersey Division encouraged MPOs in the state to expand venues for public commentary.
- Texas Division reviewed public involvement plans for each MPO to assure Environmental Justice was being addressed.
FHWA Divisions played a key role in offering training to practitioners in their state. Examples of training conducted in 2012 included:
- Multiple Divisions offered training courses on Title VI/Nondiscrimination in the Federal-aid Program: A Systematic Multidisciplinary Approach. Instructors were drawn from the FHWA Resource Center. Some sessions were targeted toward state DOT staff, and others toward local agencies. (Colorado, Delaware, Nevada, Utah)
- Multiple Divisions hosted Environmental Justice training for sub recipients. Training was provided by FHWA Resource Center staff. (Wisconsin, Maine, Nevada, Utah)
- Hawaii Division assisted the state DOT in developing training on public involvement, with a particular focus on Native Hawaiian groups.
- Colorado Division co-hosted two 2-day trainings on Designing Pedestrian Facilities for Accessibility. The target audience was state DOT staff and local government engineers.
- Maine Division participated in an Environmental Justice webinar hosted by a local agency.
- Colorado Division delivered a Contractor Compliance Webinar. This webinar was intended to ensure that contractors are informed of their responsibilities, including upholding Environmental Justice and involving the public during all phases of infrastructure construction.
- Arizona Division worked with the state DOT in the creation of a Tribal Consultation Online Training module. Creation of this module included a research study and outreach activities with tribes.
- Nevada Division sponsored a "Public Involvement 101" training from the FHWA Resource Center, which covered Environmental Justice outreach techniques.
- Washington Division Co-hosted two workshops with the state DOT local programs office on "How to Conduct an Environmental Justice Analysis."
- FHWA Resource Center provided EJ training to MPOs in southeast Florida.
Technical Assistance is an important activity for Divisions. Division staff support the work being done by state DOTs, MPOs, toll authorities, and local governments. Support comes in the form of specialized skills, convening power, and thorough knowledge of federal programs and obligations. Examples of technical assistance from 2012 included:
- Multiple Divisions provided feedback on MPO efforts on Environmental Justice during certification reviews. (Washington, Louisiana, Texas)
- Multiple Divisions offered advisory opinions to state DOT staff during environmental review. (DC, Texas, Wyoming, Washington, Louisiana, Georgia, Iowa)
- Multiple Divisions provided technical assistance to state DOTs in preparing Title VI reports. (Utah, Nevada)
- Washington Division provided technical assistance to the state DOT in development of a public involvement plan to support adoption of the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The plan included targeted public involvement toward traditionally underserved populations and those with limited English proficiency.
- Maine Division facilitated tribal consultation throughout all federal-aid programs.
- Hawaii Division facilitated coordination between multiple state agencies on improving historic and cultural preservation processes. (Hawaii)
A variety of other projects that support Environmental Justice took place in 2012:
- Texas Division partnered with MPOs and the state DOT to develop Regional Toll Analysis documents that assess the indirect and cumulative impacts of toll systems on Environmental Justice populations. Regional Toll Analyses have been conducted in five Texas regions.
- Georgia Division worked with the USDOT's Volpe Center to publish a case study on an Interstate project. The case study touched on several aspects of Environmental Justice, including relocation of residents, rerouting of a drainage culvert, improved pedestrian connections, and visual impacts.
- New Jersey Division oversaw two Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants intended to improve mobility and accessibility in disadvantaged communities.
Participation in the Partnership for Sustainable Communities EJ Team
DOT staff participated in the EJ Team of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which promotes Federal action to encourage sustainable communities with a variety of housing and transportation choices. The focus of Team EJ is to advance the integration of sustainability principles into environmental justice (EJ) efforts and likewise to advance integration of EJ principles into the work of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (PSC). During 2012, the EJ Team worked on also integrating ideas of health, sustainable siting, and environmental justice in sustainability policies, reaching out to the Centers for Disease Control to encourage their participation in discussions. The team also worked on defining performance measures that would address EJ as part of other sustainability measurements.
Participation in the EJ Interagency Working Group and Committees
Co-Chairing of NEPA Committee: The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is an important authority for achieving EJ and implementing Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. The Presidential Memorandum accompanying the Executive Order specifically recognizes the importance of procedures under NEPA for identifying and addressing EJ concerns for minority and low-income populations.
The 2011 Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898 (EJ MOU) identified "implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act" as a Federal agency action and responsibility. NEPA provides a critical opportunity to advance EJ through front-end, meaningful engagement of minority, low-income and/or tribal populations potentially impacted by Federal actions. The opportunities extend from better understanding of the potential impacts, to consideration of alternatives, and to identification of mitigation measures. Accordingly, the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (IWG) formed the NEPA Committee, which is co-chaired by DOT and EPA, and currently consists of approximately 20 departments and agencies. Its purpose is to improve the efficiency of the NEPA process across the Federal government, in order to enhance consideration of EJ through the sharing of best practices and lessons learned in the areas of education, practice, and special topics.
The NEPA Committee is working toward the mission set forth in the Executive Order. DOT contributed substantially to the work of the committee, including:
- Conducted a series of cross-agency trainings on various tools, methods, and agency-specific focal areas for incorporating and improving EJ analyses within the NEPA process. The trainings are designed to inform agencies on the current state of NEPA-related EJ efforts across the Federal family. Some examples of these trainings include NEPAssist, GIS tools, and Heath Impact Assessment training.
- Created the EJ Resources Compendium. This resource tool provides a compilation of publically available NEPA- and EJ-related documents from Federal agencies (e.g., regulations, orders, guidance, and training), accompanied by hyperlinks for Internet access.
- Commenced the drafting of a national NEPA training module on EJ. The national training module will provide a foundational understanding of NEPA's role in addressing EJ.
- Commenced the drafting of NEPA EJ Guidance under the Community of Practice Workgroup. USDOT plays an active role in this subgroup as a co-lead and drafted the initial guidance, which is being reviewed and edited by all member agencies of the NEPA IWG. This guidance is designed to provide Federal NEPA practitioners with a series of recommendations for conducting EJ analyses based on best practices and lessons learned.
Participation in Title VI Committee: The Presidential Memorandum accompanying Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations directs each Federal agency, in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to ensure that all programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance that affect human health or the environment do not directly, or through contractual or other arrangements, use criteria, methods, or practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Title VI prohibits recipients of Federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs or activities that receive federal assistance. DOT has a Departmental Office of Civil Rights as well as Civil Rights Offices in each Operating Administration, which are responsible for ensuring compliance with Title VI by their funding recipients. Department of Transportation serves on the Title VI Committee of the Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group. The committee supports agencies' efforts to connect their civil rights enforcement responsibilities with their efforts to achieve environmental justice.
Participation in Goods Movement Committee: Goods movement refers to the distribution of freight (e.g., raw materials, parts, and finished consumer products) by all modes of transportation, including marine, air, rail, and truck. Goods movement facilities, also called freight facilities, include seaports, airports, land ports of entry (i.e., border crossings), rail yards, and distribution centers. The U.S. has an extensive network of infrastructure to support goods movement, including highways, bridges, and rail lines. Goods movement activities have increased significantly in the past 20 years. In fact, container shipments quintupled at the ten largest U.S. container ports from 1980 to 2006, and over the last decade alone, shipments have grown by 81 percent. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) forecasts that between 2006 and 2035:
- Freight tonnage hauled by trucks will grow by 80 percent;
- Rail tonnage hauled will grow by 73 percent;
- Water transportation tonnage will increase by 51 percent;
- Intermodal tonnage will increase by 73 percent; and
- Air cargo tonnage will quadruple.
Minority, low-income and tribal populations have borne a disproportionate share of the impacts from goods movement, such as air and noise pollution. Per the EJ MOU, federal agencies have made goods movement a focus area when "identifying and addressing, as appropriate, any disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies and activities on minority populations and low-income populations." A keystone for meeting this requirement is interagency collaboration.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency co-chair the IWG Goods Movement committee. The committee was established in 2012 and is currently composed of eight agencies. Outlined below are the committee's 2012 accomplishments.
- Developed draft FY 2013 Goods Committee Action Plan focused on supporting federal agency initiatives to (1) reduce the environmental and health effects of agency efforts related to commercial transportation and supporting infrastructure and impacts on low-income, minority and tribal populations; and (2) assure that overburdened communities have greater opportunities to benefit from federal efforts related to goods movement.
- Facilitated the engagement with and support and utilization of the Ports Task Force, led by the White House, to develop a federal strategy for future port and related infrastructure investments.
- Enhanced federal collaboration and information sharing by evaluating and utilizing interagency tools and resources such as the Committee on the Marine Transportation System Data Map, FHWA Freight Analysis Framework and OMB Maxx.