Presidential Executive Order 12898 - Environmental Justice

[NPC editor's note: This document can be found at]

I. Overview

II. Projects/Developments

III. Publications

IV. Contacts


Return to NPC Library
Return to NPC Home Page

I. Overview

Environmental justice is a movement promoting the fair treatment of people of all races, income, and culture with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Fair treatment implies that no person or group of people should shoulder a disproportionate share of the negative environmental impacts resulting from the execution of this country's domestic and foreign policy programs. (The environmental justice movement is also occasionally referred to as Environmental Equity -- which EPA defines as the equal treatment of all individuals, groups or communities regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status, from environmental hazards).

The environmental justice movement is generally acknowledged to have emerged in the early 1980's in response to large demonstration opposing the siting of a PCB-landfill in a predominantly black community in Warren County, North Carolina. Subsequent studies and public attention raised concerns of the fairness and protection afforded under existing environmental programs -- concerns that are now receiving increased attention at all levels of government as well as within the private private community.

Today, environmental justice is a priority both within the White House and EPA. The Administration has documented its concern over this issue through issuing Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (February 11, 1994). This Order requires that federal agencies make achieving environmental justice part of their mission (a summary of the requirements imposed under E.O. 12898 is provided below. The Order itself is provided under a separate file). Similarly, the EPA has identified environmental justice a key priority under the Browner Administration. EPA created an Office of Environmental Justice (originally the Office of Environmental Equity) in 1992, commissioned a task force to address environmental justice issues, oversees a Federal Advisory Committee addressing environmental justice issues (the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council), and has developed an implementation strategy as required under E.O. 12898.

The environmental justice movement has both direct and indirect links with pollution prevention. At the most basic level, pollution prevention provides a means of achieving or improving environmental justice through reducing the environmental and health impacts that must be borne by any element of society. In recognition of this, the environmental justice grants program makes achieving pollution prevention an express objective of projects eligible for grants. In addition, environmental education efforts focused on promoting fair treatment emphasize the importance of pollution prevention in achieving programmatic objectives. Many environmental justice leaders also participate in the Common Sense Initiative, EPA's program to work with segments of industry to promote waste reduction, compliance, and the streamlining of environmental regulations. Finally, EPA is examining integrating considerations of environmental justice in the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects to promote compliance and program objectives.

Return to top of document

Return to NPC Library
Return to NPC Home Page

II. Projects/Development


1. Office of Environmental Justice (Office of Administration and Resources Management)

In November, 1992, EPA created an Office of Environmental Justice (originally named the Office of Environmental Equity) to examine and integrate environmental justice concerns into EPA's existing environmental programs. The Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) serves as the focal point for environmental justice concerns within EPA and provides coordination and oversight regarding these concerns to all parts of the Agency. The OEJ also coordinates communication and public outreach activities, provides technical and financial assistance to outside groups investigating environmental justice issues, and serves as a central environmental justice information clearinghouse. The OEJ provides technical support to environmental justice research and demonstration projects examining whether EPA programs contribute to disproportionate risks faced by some low-income and minority populations, as well as responding to inquiries from Congress and other interested parties. The OEJ is Directed by Dr. Clarice Gaylord (202 260-6357).

The OEJ coordinates EPA's Minority Academic Institutions (MAI) Program. This program attempts to increase the number of minority students receiving science and engineering degrees and to improve the quality of minority student education in the sciences. Additional activities undertaken by the OEJ include:

2. Grant Program

In June 1993, EPA's OEJ was delegated authority to solicit and select environmental justice projects, issue grants for such projects, supervise and evaluate these projects, and disseminate information on the effectiveness of the projects and the feasibility of the practices, methods, techniques, and processes examined as applied to environmental justice issues. In FY 1994 the environmental justice grants program was initiated. EPA divided approximately $500,000 among it 10 Regional Offices, and directed these offices to make grants awards in amounts not to exceed $10,000 per grant. Seventy-one (71) grants totalling $507,000 were awarded in FY 1994.

For FY 1995, OEJ has budgeted $3,000,000 for environmental justice grants. Each Region will have $300,000 to award in amounts not to exceed $20,000 per grant.

The grant program is intended to provide financial assistance and promote the public interest by supporting projects undertaken by affected community groups to address environmental justice issues. Eligible groups include any affected community group (i.e., community-based/grassroots organizations, schools, educational agencies, colleges or universities, and non-profits organizations) as well as Tribal governments. Applicants must be incorporated and non-profit to receive grants. Applicants submit pre-applications which are evaluated according to the criteria set out in EPA's Pre-Application Kit, with grants awarded to those projects selected by the respective EPA Regional Offices. The deadline for pre-applications for 1995 is February 4, 1995; awards are expected to made April-May, 1995. To be placed on the mailing list for OEJ's FY 1996 Pre-Application Assistance Kit mail your request, name, organization, and phone number to:

Office of Environmental Justice Grants
-- FY 1996 (3103)
401 MJ St. S.W.
Washington D.C. 20460

To be selected for an award, the project must include one or more of the following four objectives:

Priority will be given to community based/grassroots organizations, tribes, and organizations whose projects will help improve the environmental quality of the affected communities by developing:

Return to top of document

Return to NPC Library
Return to NPC Home Page

B. National Environmental Advisory Council

Under the auspices of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C., App. II) EPA has established the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) to advise, consult with, and make recommendations to the Administrator of EPA on matters relating environmental justice. The NEJAC holds meetings, analyzes issues, conducts reviews, performs studies, produces reports, makes recommendations and conducts other activities as appropriate given its mission and the objectives of EPA's environmental justice program. NEJAC is composed of a parent Council and four subcommittees (Public Participation and Accountability, Enforcement, Waste and Facility Siting, and Health and Research). NEJAC's members include representatives of academia, industry, community groups, non-governmental organizations, state, tribal and local governments, and environmental organizations. The Chairperson of the NEJAC is Mr. Richard Moore, Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, 211 10th St. S.W., Albuquerque, NM 87102 (Ph.: 505 242-0416; Fax: 505 242-5609). The Designated Federal Officer is Dr. Clarice Gaylord, Director of EPA's OEJ, EPA OEJ, 401 M. St. S.W., Washington D.C. 20460 (Ph.: 202 260-6357; Fax: 202 260-0852).

Return to top of document

Return to NPC Library
Return to NPC Home Page

III. Publications

A. The White House

1. Executive Order 12898: Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations - Executive Order 12898

2. Federal Agency Responsibilities Under the Order

2. Federal Agency Responsibilities Under the Presidential Memorandum

Issued concurrently with Executive Order 12898.

The presidential memorandum underscores several provisions of environmental, civil rights, and other statutes that provide opportunities to prevent minority communities and low-income communities from being subject to disproportionately high and adverse environmental effects.

Pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, agencies must ensure that 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.

Each agency must analyze the environmental effects, including human health, economic and social effects, of its actions, including their effects on minority communities and low-income communities, when such analysis is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Agencies must provide opportunities for community input in the NEPA process, including identifying potential effects and mitigation measures in consultation with affected communities and improving the accessibility of meetings, crucial documents, and notices.

In analyzing mitigation measures in its environmental assessments, environmental impact statements, and records of decision under NEPA, agencies, whenever feasible, should address significant and adverse environmental effects of their proposed actions on minority communities and low-income communities.

In its Clean Air Act section 309 review of environmental effects of proposed actions of other federal agencies, EPA must ensure that the action agency has fully analyzed environmentally effects on minority communities and low-income communities, including human health, social, and economic effects.

Agencies must ensure that the public, including minority communities and low-income communities, has adequate access to public information relating to human health or environmental planning, regulations, and enforcement when required under the Freedom of Information Act, the Government in the Sunshine Act, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

[Source: Fact Sheet on Executive Order 12898, "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice In Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations" and its accompanying residential Memorandum]

Return to top of document

Return to NPC Library
Return to NPC Home Page


1. Draft Environmental Justice Strategy for Executive Order 12898, U.S. EPA, January 1995.

This document describes EPA's strategy for implementing Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and low-Income Populations. It includes an introduction, a discussion of mission areas, a description of environmental justice model projects, and an environmental justice contact list. The discussion of mission areas includes the following topics:

2. Environmental Equity: Reducing Risk for All Communities (Volume 1 - Workgroup Report to the Administrator; Volume 2 - Supporting Document), U.S. EPA, EPA 230-R-92-008/008A, June 1992.

These documents contains a summary of the information collected and recommendations presented by EPA's Environmental Equity Workgroup, which was formed in July of 1990, and asked to review evidence that racial minority and low-income communities bear a disproportionate environmental risk burden. Volume 1 contains an introduction, a discussion of background and context, findings, recommendations and existing EPA projects. Volume 2 is a supporting document and contains an introduction, findings on health and exposures, an evaluation of EPA programs, a discussion of issues unique to Native Americans, a discussion of risk assessment and risk management, a discussion of risk communication, outreach efforts, regional level equity perspectives and efforts, an institutional model for addressing environmental equity issues, comment from external reviewers, and a bibliography.

3. OSWER Environmental Justice Task Force Draft Final Report, U.S. EPA, OSWER 9200.3-16 Draft, PB94-963224, EPA 540/R-94/003, April 25, 1994.

On November 29, 1993, Elliot Laws, the Assistant Administrator for OSWER, directed the formation of a task force to analyze environmental justice issues. The task force sought to achieve environmental protection for all as well as to educate and empower affected communities. The report includes an introduction and background section, a discussion of task force membership and outreach efforts, OSWER-wide environmental justice issues and recommendations, and program specific environmental justice issues and recommendations. Key areas of the tasks force's recommendations include the following:

4. OSWER Environmental Justice Task Force Report Executive Summary

This document presents a summary of EPA' EJ Task Force Report, including a discussion of background, goals for OSWER environmental justice, a summary of key issues and recommendations, program specific recommendations, resource implications, an implementation framework, schedule, and next steps.

5. EPA Environmental Justice Fact Sheets

EPA's Office of Environmental Justice has published fact sheets addressing:

These facts sheets summarize key information regarding the specific topic addressed and include contact information and a list of Regional justice coordinators.

6. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Environmental Justice Small Grants Program -- Pre-Application Kit for Assistance (FY 1995), U.S. EPA, 1995.

This document describes the OEJ Small Grants Program, including what types of activities are eligible for grants, how to pre-apply for a grant, the procedure and criteria used in the review and selection process, and requirements applicable to grant activities. This information is described above under Projects/Developments. The deadline for pre-applications for 1995 is February 4, 1995. To be placed on the mailing list for OEJ's FY 1996 Pre-Application Assistance Kit mail your request, name, organization, and phone number to:

Office of Environmental Justice Grants
-- FY 1996 (3103)
401 MJ St. S.W.
Washington D.C. 20460

7. Environmental Equity Update Memo[s], From Director of EPA Office of Environmental Equity to EPA Staff,(October 27, 1992; December 30, 1992; July 1993)

These memos/newsletters inform EPA about ongoing initiatives within the Office of Environmental Justice (formerly the Office of Environmental Equity). They address Office activities, Agency initiatives, programs and projects, communication, outreach and conferences, analysis, OEJ study groups, and topical issues (e.g., environmental justice issues facing Asian and pacific Americans).

8. Environmental Justice Bibliography, U.S. EPA OEJ

EPA's OEJ has compiled a bibliography of studies, articles and analyses pertaining to environmental justice issues. This bibliography is not touted as being comprehensive, but represents some of the prominent works done to date.

9. Proceedings of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, October 25-27, 1994, Hyatt Regency Hotel(Dulles Airport), Washington D.C.

The document summarizes the proceedings of the third meeting of the NEJAC and includes opening remarks, cross-cutting issues, reports from the subcommittees, completion of old business, new business (oral and written presentations), other discussions, an agenda for meeting with the EPA Administrator, a review of EPA's strategic plan, action items, a public comment period, and summaries of subcommittee activities.

10. Everything You Wanted to Know About Environmental Regulations... But Were Afraid to Ask: A Guide for Indian Nations, U.S. EPA Region VII, January 1994.

This document serves as a quick reference to environmental issues facing Indian communities and is intended for the use of representatives of those communities. The Handbook highlight services available to Indian communities from EPA Region VII and discusses cross-media programs, air programs, land programs, and water programs.

11. Environmental Risk in Indian Country, U.S. EPA, EPA 171-R-92-014, PB-92-182393, July 1992.

This document suggests that the environmental risks for American Indians are different than those experienced by the majority of Americans due to a variety of factors. It examines the population, health, economic, social and cultural characteristics of American Indians in arguing that EPA's current methods of risk assessment are not appropriate as applied to Indian lands and populations, and that additional resources are needed to bring environmental management on Indian lands up to the level of the states.

[Note: This document was prepared for EPA by a student under a National Network for Environmental Management Studies Fellowship and the contents are those of the author and not necessarily those of the U.S. EPA.]

Return to top of document

Return to NPC Library
Return to NPC Home Page

C. Federal Agency Environmental Justice Strategies

E.O. 12898 requires federal agencies to develop environmental justice strategies for implementing the requirements of the Executive Order. The strategies listed below are available for review and comment (comments on the strategies must be submitted by March 1, 1995):

Agency or Department (Publication No./Contact/Fax No.)

These strategies may be obtained free from the National Center for Environmental Publications and Information, P.O. Box 42419, Cincinnati, OH 45202; (Ph.: 513 489-8190; Fax: 513 489-8695). Please include publication number.

The following strategies should be available soon -- for information about their availability please contact: Department of Commerce (Paul Taggart - 202 482-4115); Department of Labor (Stephen Mallinger - 202 219-7031); Department of Transportation (Antonio Clifa - 202 366-4640); and NASA (Robert Hammond - 202 358-0230).

Return to top of document

Return to NPC Library
Return to NPC Home Page

IV. Contacts

EPA Director OEJ:
Dr. Clarice Gaylord, Director OEJ
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Environmental Equity
401 M St., S.W.
Washington D.C. 20460
Phone: (202) 260-6357
Fax: (202) 260-0852
Hotline: (1-800) 962-6215

EPA Regional Contact Names and Addresses

Region 1

USEPA Region 1
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
One Congress Street, 10th Floor OCR
Boston, MA 02203

Primary Contact: James Younger

Secondary Contact: Rhona Julien

Region 2

USEPA Region 2
Javits Federal Building
26 Federal Plaza
New York, NY 1027

Primary Contact: Lillian Johnson

Secondary Contact: Natalie Loney

Region 3

USEPA Region 3 (3PM-71)
841 Chestnut Building, 3DA00
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4431

Primary Contact: Mary Zielinski

Secondary Contact: Dominique Luekenhoff

Region 4

USEPA Region 4
345 Courtland Street, NE
Atlanta, GA 30365

Primary Contact: Vivian Malone Jones
404/347-4294 x 6764

Secondary Contact: Hector Buitrago

Region 5

USEPA Region 5 (H-75)
77 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60604-3507

Primary Contact: Gina Rosario

Secondary Contact: Ethel Crisp

Region 6

USEPA Region 6 (6M-P)
1445 Ross Avenue
Dallas, TX 75202-2733

Primary Contact: Mary Wilson

Secondary Contact: Lynda Carroll

Region 7

USEPA Region 7
726 Minnesota Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66101

Primary Contact: Hattie Thomas

Secondary Contact: Rupert Thomas

Region 8

USEPA Region 8 (PM-AS)
999 18th Street, Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202-2405

Primary Contact: Mel McCottry

Secondary Contact: Tempa Graves

Region 9

USEPA Region 9 (E-1)
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Primary Contact: Lori Lewis

Secondary Contact: Martha Vega

Region 10

USEPA Region 10 (MD-142)
1200 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101

Primary Contact: Robyn Meeker

Secondary Contact: Joyce Kelly


USEPA, Office of Environmental Justice (3103)
401 M Street, SW
Washington, DC 20460

Primary Contact: Daniel Gogal

NPC Menu Bar NPC Home Page Support NPC Ask NPC Search the NPC Home Page NPC QuietNet NPC Resources NPC Hearing Loss and Occupational Noise Library NPC Noise News NPC Law Library NPC Library