The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has recently released its final Environmental Justice Order, Order 5610.2(a). This order updates the original Environmental Justice Order, published in 1997. The document sets forth the DOT policy to consider environmental justice principles in all programs, policies, and activities. It describes how the objectives of environmental justice will be integrated into planning and programming, rulemaking, and policy formulation. The order sets forth steps to prevent disproportionately high and adverse effects to minority or low-income populations through Title VI analyses and environmental justice analyses conducted as part of Federal transportation planning and NEPA provisions. It also describes the specific measures to be taken to address instances of disproportionately high and adverse effects and sets forth relevant definitions.
This updated order clarifies aspects of the original order, including the definitions of "minority" populations in compliance with the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity of October 30, 1997. The revisions clarify the distinction between a Title VI analysis and an environmental justice analysis conducted as part of a NEPA review, and affirm the importance of considering environmental justice principles as part of early planning activities in order to avoid disproportionately high and adverse effects. The updated order maintains the general framework and procedures of the original.
For more information, visit www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/environmental_justice/ej_at_dot/order_56102a/index.cfm.