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Environmental Justice - 2013 Implementation Report

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has integrated Environmental Justice considerations into projects, policies, and programs across the Department, focusing on comprehensive implementation of the Department's revised EJ Strategy and Order. The Department continues to participate in the Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJIWG) as well as three subgroups within that workgroup address EJ in the context of freight movement, implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Specific actions and ongoing work to achieve Environmental Justice goals in 2013 in the DOT Operating Administrations are detailed below.

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. 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 Summer 2014.

The FAA Office of Civil Rights has issued 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. 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 Highway Administration

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) advances Environmental Justice (EJ) through its numerous policies, programs, and activities. In 2013, FHWA strengthened its EJ initiatives to ensure compliance with Federal Executive Order (EO) 12898, the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) EJ Order 5610.2(a), and FHWA EJ Order 6640.23A. This report summarizes several key activities and accomplishments from 2013. The FHWA Office of Civil Rights, Resource Center, and forty-five Division Offices contributed content to this report.

FHWA Headquarters

FHWA Headquarters was very dynamic in advancing EJ over the last year through development of policy documents, publications and research, trainings, and other projects.

Policy Documents

Publications and Research

Training

Other Projects

FHWA EJ Implementation Working Group

FHWA established the EJ Implementation Working Group in early 2013. The purpose of the Working Group is to coordinate FHWA EJ activities by building awareness within FHWA of existing EJ-related programs; enhancing EJ coordination within FHWA and across all USDOT modes; and improving practitioner understanding of EJ policies. The Working Group collaborates by actively using an internal SharePoint site to exchange EJ knowledge. Over the last year, the Working Group has met five times and is developing a wide variety of products. Several key accomplishments include:

FHWA Field Offices and the Resource Center

FHWA maintains Division Offices in each State, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico as well as a Resource Center located in several States. Division Offices provide direct assistance, guidance, and information to sub-recipients. The FHWA Resource Center provides technical support and program assistance to Division Offices. Staff members at Division Offices and the Resource Center play a critical role in upholding Environmental Justice because they work directly with stakeholders, grantees, and the general public.

The following section describes Division Office and Resource Center EJ initiatives in 2013. For many activities, Divisions collaborated with the State DOT, metropolitan planning organizations (MPO), or other local agencies. Division Offices were active in five general areas that support EJ: (a) professional development and training; (b) crafting policies or guidance; (c) public engagement; (d) technical assistance; (e) other projects and programs.

Professional Development and Training

Divisions play a vital role in delivering training and professional development opportunities to State practitioners. Professional Development work consists of efforts to improve staff (including grantee staff) knowledge of EJ. This also includes building administrative capacity to study EJ. Examples of professional development and training activities in 2013 include:

Crafting Policies or Guidance

Division Offices can also be involved in crafting policies or guidance. This work often involves a partner, such as the State DOT or MPO. Examples of policies and guidance developed in 2013 include:

Public Engagement

Division Offices are often engaged in field support to States related to public engagement. Examples of public engagement in 2013 include:

Technical Assistance

Divisions play a key role in providing technical assistance to local practitioners to support the work of State DOTs, MPOs, toll authorities, and local governments. This relies on specialized skills, agency coordination, and thorough knowledge of Federal programs and obligations. Examples of EJ-related technical assistance provided during 2013 include:

Other Projects and Programs

Division Offices conducted a variety of other projects and programs that supported EJ in 2013:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) ensures compliance with EO 12898 by incorporating Environmental Justice core principles via implementation of the NEPA process. In addition, FMCSA addresses Environmental Justice in its rulemaking process as per EO 12898 in the event a categorical exclusion is determined for the NEPA process.

Federal Railroad Administration

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) ensures compliance with EO 12898 through implementation of the NEPA process. FRA provides information, technical assistance and resources on a project by project basis by working with project sponsors to incorporate environmental justice core principles in the development of the nation's railroad system when conducting environmental and community impact assessments of pending actions and projects.

Federal Transit Administration

FTA continues to integrate concern for EJ in all aspects of its work. This past year, FTA worked with its grantees on planning protocols for how to satisfy EJ considerations in each step of the transportation planning process. For example, in June, FTA partnered with FHWA on a one-half day EJ training before the Baltimore Metropolitan Council, the metropolitan planning organization for the Baltimore region. The training presented an overview of EJ requirements and Title VI guidelines for FTA grantees. FTA also continued to participate in the NEPA Committee of Federal Interagency Working Group (IWG) on EJ and its associated subcommittees, Community of Practice and Education.

FTA provided additional resources to its grantees so they can fully assess project-level impacts to EJ communities. For example, in August, FTA updated its website and provided answers to the most frequently asked questions concerning EJ in the planning and NEPA processes and began to develop case studies to include on the website that demonstrate the benefits of establishing strong community partnerships and effective EJ analyses.

Finally, FTA began developing a two-day National Transit Institute (NTI) EJ training module. The training will provide FTA grantees an overview of EJ non-discrimination principles and explain the process for planning, implementing, and applying transportation equity considerations. FTA plans to roll out the stand-alone EJ training in early 2014. Complementary to this training, FTA continued to enhance EJ content in the existing NTI course on Managing the Environmental Review Process Seminar. Based on the EJ Circular, the seminar focused on EJ considerations during project development and environmental review. FTA presented at three offerings of the seminar in 2013.

Updated: 02/04/2014
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