Thursday, December 4, 2008

USDA Rural Development Staff EJ Guidance

The purpose of the USDA Rural Development Administrative Notice (AN) is to clarify the procedures used in complying with Executive Order (EO) 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, issued February 11, 1994, RD Instruction 7 CFR Part 1940-G and RUS 7 CFR Part 1794. This AN also clarifies the relationship and use of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in implementing EO 12898.

Environmental Justice (EJ) principles will be incorporated into Rural Development programs, activities, and services through existing requirements, primarily NEPA and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Rural Development, to the greatest extent practicable, will consider environmental justice principles in its decision-making using its existing NEPA environmental review and Civil Rights Impact Analysis processes.

It is Rural Development policy to actively administer and monitor its decision-making process to ensure that nondiscrimination is an integral part of its programs, activities, and services. Rural Development programs, activities, and services that have the potential for a disproportionately high and adverse effect on human health or the environment should include explicit consideration of their effects on minority and low-income populations. Procedures are necessary to provide meaningful opportunities for public involvement by members of minority and low-income populations during the development of environmental review documents that include identification of potential effects, alternatives (if necessary), and mitigation measures to reduce any disproportionate effect on minority and low-income populations.

No comments: