EPA's Title VI - Policies, Guidance, Settlements, Laws and Regulations

EPA's Title VI Policy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made improving its civil rights program a priority and recognizes that its enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) is an important tool in its efforts to protect against discrimination and ensure that recipients of EPA financial assistance do not discriminate in implementing programs and activities.  On January 29, 2013, EPA released two draft policy papers via its website for public comment. The first paper, Adversity and Compliance With Environmental Health-Based Thresholds (PDF)(5 pp, 216 K, About PDF), proposes to change the way EPA assesses “adversity” by having the Agency refrain from applying a “rebuttable presumption” in certain Title VI investigations.  The second paper, Roles of Complainants and Recipients in the Title VI Complaints and Resolution Process (PDF)(4 pp, 52 K, About PDF), discusses EPA’s clarification of  the roles of complainants and recipients in the Title VI complaint process. Consistent with its goal to promote transparency, EPA initially posted these documents on its website and sent notification of the posting to stakeholders who previously had expressed an interest in agency activities.  On April 26, 2013, EPA published these documents in the Federal Register with a 30-day comment period in an effort to further expand the potential audience who may see these documents.  Also, EPA hosted outreach sessions via teleconference with interested stakeholders concerning these two draft policies on April 30, 2013 and May 14, 2013.

Policies and Guidance

On June 27, 2000, EPA published two draft Title VI guidance documents in the Federal Register for public comment, the Draft Title VI Guidance for EPA Assistance Recipients Administering Environmental Permitting Programs (Draft Recipient Guidance) (PDF) (53 pp, 668 K, About PDF) and the Draft Revised Guidance for Investigating Title VI Administrative Complaints Challenging Permits (Draft Revised Investigation Guidance).

The June 27, 2000 Draft Recipient Guidance, written at the request of the state stakeholders, and intends to offer suggestions to assist state and local recipients in developing approaches and activities to address potential Title VI concerns. EPA's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) accepted public comments on the guidance through August 28, 2000. On March 4, 2005, based on public comments received and due to a large percentage of public involvement complaints filed, OCR published in the Federal Register the revised version of the Draft Recipient Guidance entitled Draft Final Title VI Public Involvement Guidance for EPA Assistance Recipients Administering Environmental Permitting Programs (“Draft Final Recipient Guidance”). The Draft Final Recipient Guidance was developed for recipients of EPA assistance implementing environmental permitting programs. It discusses various approaches, and suggests tools that recipients may use to enhance the public involvement aspects of their current permitting programs. It also addresses potential issues related to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI) and EPA's regulations implementing Title VI at 40 C.F.R. Part 7. After addressing the public comments received on this document, EPA published in the Federal Register, on March 21, 2006, the final version entitled Title VI Public Involvement Guidance for EPA Assistance Recipients Administering Environmental Permitting Programs (Recipient Guidance)(PDF)(11 pp, 6 MB, About PDF).
The issue of the applicability of Title VI to Federally-recognized tribes is currently under review at EPA. Executive Order 13084 (issued May 14, 1998) also directs agencies to consult with tribes prior to the development of policies that significantly or uniquely affect their communities. In 1999, EPA engaged in a consultation process with federally recognized tribes, which included a letter to Tribal Leaders requesting their views on Title VI implementation issues.
On August 11, 2000, President Clinton signed Executive Order 13166 (PDF)(3 pp, 248 K, About PDF) entitled, "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency." The Executive Order requires Federal agencies to examine the services they provide, identify any need for services to limited English proficient (LEP) persons, and develop and implement a plan to provide those services so that LEP persons can have meaningful access to them. The Executive Order also requires Federal agencies work to ensure that recipients of Federal financial assistance provide meaningful access to their LEP applicants and beneficiaries.

Civil Rights Information and Publications

Information about the June, 2000 Title VI draft guidance documents

Title VI Policy Documents

Other Publications

Environmental Justice

Internet Links

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