This directive was canceled on June 14, 2012.
U.S. Department of TransportationFHWA ACTIONS TO ADDRESS ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Federal Highway Administration
IN MINORITY POPULATIONS AND LOW-INCOME POPULATIONS
December 2, 1998
- Purpose And Authority
- Integrating Environmental Justice Principles With Existing Operations
- Preventing Disproportionately High and Adverse Effects
- Actions to Address Disproportionately High and Adverse Effects
- PURPOSE AND AUTHORITY.
- This Order establishes policies and procedures for the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) to use in complying with Executive Order 12898,
Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations
and Low-Income Populations (EO 12898), dated February 11, 1994.
- EO 12898 requires Federal agencies to achieve environmental justice
by identifying and addressing disproportionately high and adverse human
health and environmental effects, including the interrelated social and
economic effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority
populations and low-income populations in the United States. These requirements
are to be carried out to the greatest extent practicable, consistent with
applicable statutes and the National Performance Review. Compliance with
this FHWA Order is a key element in the environmental justice strategy
adopted by FHWA to implement EO 12898, and can be achieved within the
framework of existing laws, regulations, and guidance.
- Consistent with paragraph 6-609 of Executive Order 12898 and the Department
of Transportation Order on Environmental Justice (DOT Order 5610.2) dated
April 15, 1997, this Order is limited to improving the internal management
of the Agency and is not intended to, nor does it, create any rights,
benefits, or trust responsibility, substantive or procedural, enforceable
at law or equity, by a party against the Agency, its officers, or any
person. Nor should this Order be construed to create any right to judicial
review involving the compliance or noncompliance with this Order by the
Agency, its operating administrations, its officers, or any other person.
The following terms, where used in this Order, shall have the following meanings1:
- FHWA means the Federal Highway Administration as a whole and one or more of its individual components;
- Low-Income means a household income at or below the Department
of Health and Human Services poverty guidelines;
- Minority means a person who is:
(1) Black (having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa);
(2) Hispanic (of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American,
or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race);
(3) Asian American (having origins in any of the original peoples
of the Far East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, or the Pacific Islands); or
(4) American Indian and Alaskan Native (having origins in any of
the original people of North America and who maintains cultural identification
through tribal affiliation or community recognition).
- Low-Income Population means any readily identifiable group of
low-income persons who live in geographic proximity, and, if circumstances
warrant, geographically dispersed/transient persons (such as migrant workers
or Native Americans) who would be similarly affected by a proposed FHWA program, policy, or activity.
- Minority Population means any readily identifiable groups of
minority persons who live in geographic proximity, and if circumstances
warrant, geographically dispersed/transient persons (such as migrant workers
or Native Americans) who will be similarly affected by a proposed FHWA program, policy, or activity.
- Adverse Effects means the totality of significant individual
or cumulative human health or environmental effects, including interrelated
social and economic effects, which may include, but are not limited to:
bodily impairment, infirmity, illness or death; air, noise, and water
pollution and soil contamination; destruction or disruption of man-made
or natural resources; destruction or diminution of aesthetic values; destruction
or disruption of community cohesion or a community's economic vitality;
destruction or disruption of the availability of public and private facilities
and services; vibration; adverse employment effects; displacement of persons,
businesses, farms, or nonprofit organizations; increased traffic congestion,
isolation, exclusion or separation of minority or low-income individuals
within a given community or from the broader community; and the denial
of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of, benefits of
FHWA programs, policies, or activities.
- Disproportionately High and Adverse Effect on Minority and Low-Income
Populations means an adverse effect that:
(1) is predominately borne by a minority population and/or a low-income population; or
(2) will be suffered by the minority population and/or low-income
population and is appreciably more severe or greater in magnitude
than the adverse effect that will be suffered by the nonminority population
and/or nonlow- income population.
- Programs, Policies, and/or Activities means all projects, programs,
policies, and activities that affect human health or the environment,
and that are undertaken, funded, or approved by FHWA. These include, but
are not limited to, permits, licenses, and financial assistance provided
by FHWA. Interrelated projects within a system may be considered to be
a single project, program, policy, or activity for purposes of this Order.
- Regulations and Guidance means regulations, programs, policies,
guidance, and procedures promulgated, issued, or approved by FHWA.
- It is FHWA's longstanding policy to actively ensure nondiscrimination
in Federally funded activities. Furthermore, it is FHWA's continuing
policy to identify and prevent discriminatory effects by actively administering
its programs, policies, and activities to ensure that social impacts to
communities and people are recognized early and continually throughout
the transportation decisionmaking process--from early planning through implementation.
Should the potential for discrimination be discovered, action to eliminate the potential shall be taken.
- EO 12898, DOT Order 5610.2, and this Order are primarily a reaffirmation
of the principles of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI)
and related statutes, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 23
U.S.C. 109(h) and other Federal environmental laws, emphasizing the incorporation
of those provisions with the environmental and transportation decisionmaking processes.
Under Title VI, each Federal agency is required to ensure that no person
on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, is excluded from
participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination
under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
This statute applies to every program area in FHWA. Under EO 12898,
each Federal agency must identify and address, as appropriate, disproportionately
high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs,
policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations.
- FHWA will implement the principles of the DOT Order 5610.2 and EO 12898
by incorporating Environmental Justice principles in all FHWA programs,
policies, and activities within the framework of existing laws, regulations, and guidance.
- In complying with this Order, FHWA will rely upon existing authorities
to collect necessary data and conduct research associated with environmental
justice concerns, including 49 CFR 21.9(b) and 23 CFR 200.9 (b)(4).
- INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLES WITH EXISTING OPERATIONS
- The principles outlined in this Order are required to be integrated in existing operations.
- Future rulemaking activities undertaken, and the development of any
future guidance or procedures for FHWA programs, policies, or activities
that affect human health or the environment, shall explicitly address
compliance with EO 12898 and this Order.
- The formulation of future FHWA policy statements and proposals for legislation
that may affect human health or the environment will include consideration
of the provisions of EO 12898 and this Order.
- PREVENTING DISPROPORTIONATELY HIGH AND ADVERSE EFFECTS
- Under Title VI, FHWA managers and staff must administer their programs
in a manner to ensure that no person is excluded from participating in,
denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination under any program
or activity of FHWA because of race, color, or national origin. Under
EO 12898, FHWA managers and staff must administer their programs to identify
and address, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human
health or environmental effects of FHWA programs, policies, and activities
on minority populations and low-income populations.
- FHWA currently administers policies, programs, and activities that are
subject to the requirements of NEPA, Title VI, the Uniform Relocation
Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act of 1970 (Uniform Act), Title
23 of the United States Code and other statutes that involve human health
or environmental matters, or interrelated social and economic impacts.
These requirements will be administered to identify the risk of discrimination,
early in the development of FHWA's programs, policies, and activities
so that positive corrective action can be taken. In implementing these
requirements, the following information should be obtained where relevant,
appropriate, and practical:
(1) population served and/or affected by race, or national origin, and income level;
(2) proposed steps to guard against disproportionately high and adverse
effects on persons on the basis of race, or national origin; and,
(3) present and proposed membership by race, or national origin,
in any planning or advisory body that is part of the program.
- FHWA will administer its governing statutes so as to identify and avoid
discrimination and disproportionately high and adverse effects on minority
populations and low-income populations by:
(1) identifying and evaluating environmental, public health, and
interrelated social and economic effects of FHWA programs, policies, and activities; and
(2) proposing measures to avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate disproportionately
high and adverse environmental and public health effects and interrelated
social and economic effects, and providing offsetting benefits and
opportunities to enhance communities, neighborhoods, and individuals
affected by FHWA programs, policies, and activities, where permitted
by law and consistent with EO 12898; and
(3) considering alternatives to proposed programs, policies, and
activities, where such alternatives would result in avoiding and/or
minimizing disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental
impacts, consistent with EO 12898; and
(4) providing public involvement opportunities and considering the
results thereof, including providing meaningful access to public information
concerning the human health or environmental impacts and soliciting
input from affected minority and low-income populations in considering
alternatives during the planning and development of alternatives and decisions.
- ACTIONS TO ADDRESS DISPROPORTIONATELY HIGH AND ADVERSE EFFECTS
- Following the guidance set forth in this Order, FHWA managers and
staff shall ensure that FHWA programs, policies, and activities for
which they are responsible do not have a disproportionately high and
adverse effect on minority or low-income populations.
- When determining whether a particular program, policy, or activity
will have disproportionately high and adverse effects on minority
and low-income populations, FHWA managers and staff should take into
account mitigation and enhancements measures and potential offsetting
benefits to the affected minority or low-income populations. Other
factors that may be taken into account include design, comparative
impacts, and the relevant number of similar existing system elements
in nonminority and nonlow-income areas.
- FHWA managers and staff will ensure that the programs, policies,
and activities that will have disproportionately high and adverse
effects on minority populations or low-income populations will only
be carried out if further mitigation measures or alternatives that
would avoid or reduce the disproportionately high and adverse effects
are not practicable. In determining whether a mitigation measure or
an alternative is "practicable," the social, economic (including
costs) and environmental effects of avoiding or mitigating the adverse
effects will be taken into account.
- FHWA managers and staff will also ensure that any of their respective
programs, policies or activities that have the potential for disproportionately
high and adverse effects on populations protected by Title VI ("protected
populations") will only be carried out if:
(1) a substantial need for the program, policy or activity exists,
based on the overall public interest; and
(2) alternatives that would have less adverse effects on protected populations have either:
(a) adverse social, economic, environmental, or human health impacts that are more severe; or
(b) would involve increased costs of an extraordinary magnitude.
- Any relevant finding identified during the implementation of this
Order must be included in the planning or NEPA documentation that
is prepared for the appropriate program, policy, or activity.
- Environmental and civil rights statutes provide opportunities to
address the environmental effects on minority populations and low-income
populations. Under Title VI, each Federal agency is required to ensure
that no person on grounds of race, color, or national origin is excluded
from participation in, denied the benefits of, or in any other way
subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving
Federal assistance. Therefore, any member of a protected class under
Title VI may file a complaint with the FHWA Office of Civil Rights,
Attention HCR-20, alleging that he or she was subjected to disproportionately
high and adverse health or environmental effects. FHWA will then process
the allegation in a manner consistent with the attached operations flowchart.
Original signed by:
Kenneth R. Wykle
Federal Highway Administrator
Attachment - Note: This is a PDF file.
1These definitions are intended to be consistent
with the draft definitions for EO 12898 that have been issued by the Council
on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
To the extent that these definitions vary from the CEQ and EPA draft definitions,
they reflect further refinements deemed necessary to tailor the definitions
to fit within the context of the FHWA program.
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