In principle, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act is a powerful Environmental Justice tool that protects communities of color from adverse discriminatory impacts caused by Federally funded activities. For example, the disparate negative environmental and health impacts on minority communities caused by the raising of the Bayonne Bridge by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey are forbidden by Title VI.
However, the EPA Office of Civil Rights has never made a formal finding of discrimination and has been widely viewed as ineffective by environmental organizations and within the EPA.
Following an Earthjustice campaign, and under new leadership, the EPA Office of Civil Rights has proposed new rules to strengthen Title VI civil rights enforcement by the EPA.
The agency is accepting public comments now, and holding public listening sessions in Chicago, Houston, Research Triangle Park, Oakland, and Washington D.C. this month.
For background, check out the articles and posts below, and sign up for a session in the attached “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.”
What do you think? Will these proposed rules help solve the problem? Please share your thoughts by commenting here.
Civil Rights of North Shore Residents Violated By Bayonne Bridge Project Construction, NRDC Switchboard
External Compliance (Title VI) – New Developments!, EPA Office of Civil Rights
Announcing a Series of Actions to Strengthen EPA’s Civil Rights Program, EPA Connect
EPA Begins ‘Wholesale Attempt’ to Fix Much-Criticized Office of Civil Rights, NBC News
TELL THE EPA TO ADDRESS CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS, Earthjustice
Murmurs of change at the troubled EPA civil-rights office, Center for Public Integrity, September 2015
Environmental racism persists, and the EPA is one reason why, Center for Public Integrity, September 2015
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) from EPA’s Office of Civil Rights On December 1st, 2015
Administrator McCarthy sent to the Federal Register (FR) a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM).
The NPRM will: 1) Reaffirm EPA’s discretion to initiate compliance reviews to ensure compliance with civil rights laws; 2) Provide EPA with the ability to request and receive compliance information from recipients on a regular basis; 3) Reaffirm EPA’s discretion to determine how to ensure the prompt, effective, and efficient resolution of its cases; and, 4) Reaffirm EPA’s enforcement discretion to tailor its approach to complaints to match their complexity, scope and nature.
The official version of the proposed rule titled https://www.federalregister.
EPA will hold listening sessions regarding the proposed modifications in five cities around the country. At these sessions, attendees will hear more information on the proposed modifications and have an opportunity to submit written or oral comments. Please register to attend using the links provided under each city:
– Houston, Texas Houston Session A Houston Session B
– Research Triangle Park, NC Research Triangle Park Session A Research Triangle Park Session B
– Oakland, California Oakland Session A Oakland Session B Oakland Session C
– Washington, DC Washington DC Session A Washington DC Session B
For more information, please head to epa.gov/ocr
To join the listserv go to: https://lists.epa.gov/read/