A 1994 Presidential Executive Order directed every Federal agency to make environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing the effects of all programs, policies, and activities on "minority populations and low-income populations." The DOT's environmental justice initiatives accomplish this goal by involving the potentially affected public in developing transportation projects that fit harmoniously within their communities without sacrificing safety or mobility.
Environmental justice and Title VI are not new concerns. Today, because of the evolution of the transportation planning process, they are receiving greater emphasis. Effective transportation decision making depends upon understanding and properly addressing the unique needs of different socioeconomic groups. This is more than a desktop exercise; it requires involving the public. The U.S. DOT is committed to this more comprehensive, inclusive approach. These changes make sure that every transportation project nationwide considers the human environment. Use the information in this brochure to learn how to promote environmental justice and ensure nondiscrimination in your community.
What is Environmental Justice?
There are three fundamental environmental justice principles:
- To avoid, minimize, or mitigate disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects, including social and economic effects, on minority populations and low-income populations.
- To ensure the full and fair participation by all potentially affected communities in the transportation decision-making process.
- To prevent the denial of, reduction in, or significant delay in the receipt of benefits by minority and low-income populations.