Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
Fair treatment means that no group of people, including a racial, ethnic, or a socioeconomic group, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies.
Meaningful involvement means that:
- Potentially affected community residents have an appropriate opportunity to participate in decisions about a proposed activity that will affect their environment and/or health;
- The public's contribution can influence the regulatory agency's decision; and
- The concerns of all participants involved will be considered in the decision making process; and the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.
In sum, environmental justice is the goal to be achieved for all communities and persons across this Nation. Environmental justice is achieved when everyone, regardless of race, culture, or income, enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
Besides the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there are two other federal guidelines that must be followed to insure environmental justice:
- Executive Order 12898 (1994) identifying the U.S. EPA as the agency responsible for maintaining and enforcing environmental justice.
- U.S. DOT Order 5680.2 (1997) insuring that all federally funded transportation related programs, policies or activities explicitly consider the effects on minority populations and people with low income.
No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
- Excerpt from Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- A comprehensive plan or parts thereof for the development and redevelopment of Columbus
- Regulations for the subdivision of land and amendments thereto
- Other such matters as may be required by ordinance
The Planning Department has provided the following environmental justice brochure in English and Spanish formats.
View the Environmental Justice Brochure(English)
View the Environmental Justice Brochure(Spanish)