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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Resources

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The FHWA maintains links to various environmental justice and Title VI resources. This page provides resource information and tools to help better incorporate environmental justice in all phases of transportation decision-making. The resources are organized by topic as follows:

Effective Practices

The Transportation and Environmental Justice Effective Practices are resource guides that were developed and saved to a CD ROM. The Effective Practices provide practical examples relevant to an array of practitioners on how environmental justice has been integrated into transportation programs, policies, plans and activities.

This resource describes effective practices taken by transportation agencies, community-based organizations, and other grassroots and advocacy organizations to advance the fundamental principles of environmental justice. These practices highlight the essential importance of public involvement as well as describe various data sources, analytical methods, monitoring tools, partnerships, funding programs and strategies that have been employed to better identify the needs and address the concerns of low-income and minority populations. The effective practices makes clear that, properly implemented, environmental justice principles and procedures improve transportation decision-making; there are significant practical benefits for transportation agencies and communities when environmental justice is placed, proactively, at the center of decision-making processes. Effective Practices reflect the various stages of the transportation decision-making listed below:

Below are a few effective practice examples from the CD ROM.

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EJ and NEPA

EJ is important throughout the entire project development process. With that in mind, a number of additional case studies have been developed specifically focusing on EJ analysis during the environmental review process.

The EJ and NEPA case studies are presented in several different ways:

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Council on Environmental Quality EJ Guidance

FHWA and CEQ guidance on Minority Population and Low-Income Measures - Congress established the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) within the Executive Office of the President as part of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The CEQ, which coordinates Federal environmental efforts by working with other Federal agencies to develop environmental policies and initiatives, has since published guidance for Federal agencies on EJ definition and measures. While much of the CEQ EJ guidance is consistent with FHWA's policy, FHWA guidance differs from CEQ guidance regarding measures to define minority population and low-income population. Details on these distinctions are provided below.

Low-income - The FHWA and U.S. DOT EJ Orders define a "low-income" individual as a person whose median household income is at or below the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) poverty guidelines. This differs from CEQ guidance on EJ, which proposes the use of U.S. Census Bureau poverty thresholds. The HHS website outlines key differences between HHS guidelines and Census guidelines.

Minority Population - CEQ guidance provides that minority populations should be identified where either "(a) the minority population of the affected area exceeds 50 percent or (b) the minority population percentage of the affected area is meaningfully greater than the minority population percentage in the general population or other appropriate unit of geographic analysis." Such measures may provide some benefit for broad census data assessment at the planning level, but should not be a determinate alone at the more detailed project level analysis. As such, FHWA has generally discouraged the use of bright-line thresholds to define minority population as described in the CEQ guidance.

FHWA's guidance regarding the identification of minority populations and low-income populations is set forth in the documents listed below:

U.S. DOT Order on EJ

The Order defines low-income population and minority population. The Order also sets forth steps to prevent disproportionately high and adverse effects to minority or low-income populations through Title VI analyses and EJ analyses conducted as a part of Federal transportation planning and NEPA provisions.

FHWA Order on EJ

This FHWA directive establishes policies and procedures for the Federal Highway Administration to use in complying with Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.

FHWA guidance on NEPA and EJ

This guidance advises FHWA offices on the process to address EJ during the NEPA review, including documentation requirements. It supplements the FHWA Technical Advisory 6640.8A, which provides guidance for documenting the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts considered in the selection and implementation of highway projects.

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Annotated Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography for Community Impacts and Environmental Justice has been prepared and is periodically updated to reflect current applied and academic research as well as available publications. Follow this link to download the current version of the Annotated Bibliography for Community Impacts and Environmental Justice.

This living document represents a technical resource for those interested in learning more about:

AASHTO Center for Environmental Excellence

The Center for Environmental Excellence (CEE) by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has been developed in cooperation with FHWA to promote environmental stewardship and to encourage innovative ways to streamline the transportation delivery process. The Center provides resource information on a host of environmental topics including environmental justice. Learn more information on EJ resources available through AASHTO's CEE here http://environment.transportation.org/environmental_topics/environmental_justice/

Updated: 6/9/2016
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