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Environmental Justice Primer for Ports Appendix: Additional Resources

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The page includes additional resources on the following topics: environmental justice-related laws and regulations, benefits of effective community engagement, stakeholders in collaborative decision-making, community assessment tools,  and performance measure resources.

On this page:

Environmental justice-related laws and regulations

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
EPA’s regulations that implement Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit intentional discrimination as well as any programs or policies that have a discriminatory effect based on race, color or national origin. “A discriminatory effect occurs when a program or policy does not expressly discriminate on the basis of race but rather has a racially discriminatory impact regardless of intent.” All recipients of federal funding, including port authorities, are subject to the directives of Title VI (e.g., as recipients of BUILD and FASTLANE grants).

Guidance on EJ considerations under NEPA
Following issuance of the Executive Order on Environmental Justice, the White House Council on Environmental Quality issued guidance to integrate environmental justice considerations into federal agencies’ preparation of environmental impact statements and environmental assessments under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process.

Reference to 50 states environmental justice requirements: UC Hastings School of Law’s report, Environmental Justice for All: A Fifty State Survey of Legislation, Policies and Cases (PDF) Exit(99 pp, 972 K, About PDF).

Tribal-related laws and regulation
Tribal sovereignty and indigenous treaty rights ensure that any actions or decisions about federally recognized tribes with regard to their lands, resources and citizens are made only with their informed participation and consent, and in accordance with laws established by tribes to govern actions by their citizens and others on their lands. In May 2010, EPA released its Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes. In July 2014, EPA issued its Policy on Environmental Justice for Working with Federally Recognized Tribes and Indigenous Peoples.   

Treaty-rights and tribal lands context: and

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Benefits of effective community engagement

According to Policy Link’s Community Engagement Guide for Sustainable Communities (PDF) Exit(21 pp, 830 K), community engagement is a process through which community members are empowered to own the change they want to see and involves communication, problem-solving, governance, and decision-making skills and strategies.

Benefits of community engagement summarized in the Guide include:

  • Legitimacy and increased support for plans and projects. With the substantive engagement of affected communities, developed plans will reflect legitimacy, community support, and incorporate equity outcomes. Legitimacy builds trust, political will and ownership for effective implementation.
  • Improved community/government relations. Community engagement can build trust between diverse stakeholders and help improve the quality of difficult discussions about racial disparities, economic conditions, and community development needs. By creating a multifaceted process built upon relationship building, trust, respect, and affirmation of community knowledge and power, more effective ways of dealing with difference will emerge.
  • Deeper understanding of the issues. Regional housing plans will be stronger with the input of the people who are facing and addressing housing challenges. Regional economic opportunity plans will benefit by significant engagement of residents and organizations that have knowledge of the barriers to job access and experience in creating solutions to these challenges.
  • Increase in community capacity. A meaningful engagement strategy will improve capacity for problem-solving. Engagement builds stronger networks across racial, ethnic, generational, gender and socioeconomic divides, an essential component to achieving equitable outcomes and leveraging additional resources outside of public processes.
  • Reduced long-term costs. Plans and development projects often end up in litigation when lack of or poor community engagement has not effectively crafted consensus. While conflicts may arise during planning (especially when there is a history of failed projects or unrealized promises), the community engagement process creates an environment of positive communication where creative and inclusive solutions can be found to resolve conflicts.
  • Democracy in action. Community engagement is, in many ways, a microcosm of American democracy in action. It is one of the best ways that community residents can connect to and shape local and regional decision-making processes.

FRESC’s report on Strategies for meaningful engagement (PDF) Exit(14 pp, 1 MB)  recommends four simple steps for a more genuine community engagement process:

  1. Ask yourself who’s missing?
  2. Make a targeted outreach plan.
  3. Go where people are.
  4. Make the process accessible AND meaningful.

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Stakeholders in collaborative decision-making

Collaborative decision-making is when two or more people work together toward a common goal and commit to reach the best solution based on their values, personal skills and expertise. Collaborative decision-making starts with the premise that involving all affected parties will result in a higher-quality decision. A successful collaborative decision-making process will involve appropriate stakeholders from the following four groups.

People with formal power to make a decision
The first stakeholder group is “those who are authorized to make final and binding decisions” [Straus 2002].
In other words, these people should be involved so that your efforts are not wasted in reaching a decision just to find in the end that the solution will not be approved. The inclusion of these people will empower the collaborative effort. The more you involve them, the better the chances your solution will be approved.

People with the power to block
The second stakeholder group is people who “are not formal decision makers, but can block or severely delay the implementation of a decision” [Straus 2002]. Those people are either members of an organized union or interest group, or working within the organization effected by the decision.

People affected by the decision
The third stakeholder group is any group or party affected by a decision. The more input from people who are affected, the more well-received the final decision will be. The more affected a group is by a decision, the more involved they should be in the decision-making process.

People with relevant information or expertise
The last stakeholder group involves experts and consultants. “In a collaborative process, the quality of the decision is dependent on the quality of the expertise within the stakeholder group” [Straus 2002]. Implementing a decision not only affects the people who are tasked with carrying out the decision, but also can affect the stakeholders who are making the decision. Therefore, it is often necessary to bring in outside experts for input on both content and process.

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Social equity

The following resources provide guidance and case studies of application of social equity and environmental justice principles to community revitalization and public engagement.

Community assessment tools

Community Assessment Tool Description and Application Capability
Tools for Assessing Health Impacts
Tribal-Focused Environmental Risk and Sustainability Tool (T-FERST) A web-based information and mapping tool designed to provide tribes with easy access to human health and ecological science. Users follow a tribal roadmap for identifying priority issues, compiling data, addressing risks and assessing impacts of actions taken. Web-based geospatial decision support tool (currently available to the general public)
EnviroAtlas Eco-Health Relationship Browser An interactive tool that illustrates scientific evidence for linkages between human health and ecosystem services. Training in scientific research and application
EPA Research: Methods, Models, Tools, and Databases Methods, Models, Tools, and Databases for Air, Climate Change, Ecosystems, Water, Health, Land and Waste Management. Varies from complex to user-friendly
Tools for Health Professional Shortage Areas and Medically Underserved Areas (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) To determine Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and Medically Underserved Areas/Populations (MUAs) designated by Health Resources and Services Administration  (HRSA) User-friendly online data tool

Subsistence Exposure Scenarios for Tribal Applications

Exposure Scenario for CTUIR Traditional Subsistence Lifeways (PDF) Exit (21 pp, 274 K)

Methods that can be used to develop exposure scenarios for unique tribal natural resource usage patterns. Training in research and application
Tools for Assessing Exposure to Hazards
EJSCREEN (EPA) EJSCREEN allows users to access environmental and demographic information for locations in the United States, and compare those to the rest of the state, EPA Region or the nation. It may help users to identify minority and/or low-income populations, potential environmental quality issues or a combination of environmental and demographic indicators that is greater than usual. User-friendly web-based mapping tool
EnviroAtlas (EPA) Interactive tools and resources for exploring the benefits people receive from nature or ecosystem goods and services. The Eco-Health Relationship browser is an interactive literature review resource provided as part of EnviroAtlas. User-friendly web-based mapping tool
USDA’s Food Desert Locator Spatial overview of food access indicators for low-income and other Census tracts using different measures of supermarket accessibility. User-friendly web-based mapping tool

EPA ExpoBox Toolbox

EPA ExpoBox is a collection of exposure assessment tools that links to exposure assessment guidance, databases, models, key references and related resources. The toolbox is organized into six tool sets, including Approaches, Media (air, water and sediment, soil and dust, etc.), Routes, Tiers and Types, Life-stages and Populations, and Chemical Classes. User-friendly web- based assessment and research tool. Available to EPA, other government entities and the general public.
Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) An open-source version of the Nonpoint Source Pollution and Erosion Comparison Tool is used to investigate potential water quality impacts from climate change and development to other land uses. The downloadable tool is designed to be broadly applicable for coastal and noncoastal areas alike. Tool functions simulate erosion, pollution and the accumulation from overland flow. Requires MapWindow GIS v.4.8.8 (open source software)

NOAA’s Digital Coast Tools

Exposure to hazards for near-coast communities. User-friendly web-based mapping tool
NOAA’S OpenNSPECT An open-source version of the Nonpoint Source Pollution and Erosion Comparison Tool is used to investigate potential water quality impacts from climate change and development to other land uses. The downloadable tool is designed to be broadly applicable for coastal and noncoastal areas. Tool functions simulate erosion, pollution and the accumulation from overland flow. Requires MapWindow GIS v.4.8.8 (open source software)
Tools for Assessing Socioeconomic Data

U.S. Census Bureau

Census data on demographics. User-friendly web-based data and mapping tool
NOAA’s Digital Coast Tools Demographic profile of near-coast communities.

User-friendly web-based data and mapping tool

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