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

On February 11, 1994, President Clinton signed E.O. 12898 which directs federal agencies to make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing disproportionately high and adverse human health, environmental, economic and social effects of its activities on minority and low-income populations.  Agencies are further directed to identify potential effects and mitigation measures in consultation with affected communities.

Each Federal agency must review the effects of its programs, policies, and activities on vulnerable populations, particularly when such analysis is required by NEPA. The E.O. emphasizes the importance of NEPA's public participation process, directing that each Federal agency shall provide opportunities for community input in the NEPA process.

The E.O. requires agencies to work to ensure effective public participation and access to information. An analysis from FEMA explains that each agency should - within its NEPA process and through other appropriate mechanisms - translate crucial public documents, notices and hearings, relating to human health or the environmental for limited English speaking populations when it is practical and appropriate.

The Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice (EJ IWG) facilitates the active involvement of all Federal agencies to implement E.O. 12898. The IWG operates as a federal family to increase local community capacity to promote and implement innovative and comprehensive solutions to environmental justice issues.

In 2011, the EJ IWG agencies adopted a Charter and signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898. The MOU served as a formal agreement among Federal agencies to recommit to addressing environmental justice through a more collaborative, comprehensive and efficient process.  It also broadened the EJ IWG to include additional agencies and articulates additional commitments made by member agencies.


Publication Date: February 11, 1994

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