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Environmental Justice

Overview of the EJ IWG

Environmental Justice: What does that mean?"

The EJ IWG facilitates the active involvement of all Federal agencies to implement the Executive Order. The order states that Federal agencies must identify and address, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations.The EJ IWG plays a central role in creating healthy and sustainable communities by bringing together the federal family to address critical environmental justice issues.

Established through the order and requested by communities, the EJ IWG provides a forum for Federal agencies to collectively advance environmental justice principles. The EJ IWG works as a federal family to assist communities in building the capacity to promote and implement innovative and comprehensive solutions to address environmental justice issues.

The EJ IWG is chaired by the EPA Administrator and includes 17 Federal agencies and White House offices with standing committees and other committees established as necessary to carry out responsibilities outlined by the Order. The IWG consists of senior leadership representatives, senior staff representatives, and other persons delegated by an agency.

In 2011, IWG agencies took a landmark step to support environmental justice by adopting a Charter and signing the Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice and Executive Order 12898 (MOU). 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.

The Charter outlines the governance structure and focus areas for the EJ IWG. The Charter was revised in late 2014 and includes the following focus areas for EJ IWG activities:

  • Public Participation
  • Regional Engagement
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • National Environmental Policy Act
  • Native Americans/Indigenous Peoples
  • Rural Communities Engagement
  • Impacts from Climate Change
  • Impacts from Commercial Transportation (Goods Movement)
  • Strategy and Implementation Progress Reports

Read the Factsheet for the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice.

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