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Major Milestones of EPA's Title VI Policy Development

July 1964 Title VI passed. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (PDF) (13 pp, 23K, About PDF). Title VI of the Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in all programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance.

July 5, 1973 EPA's initial regulations issued. EPA, in coordination with the Department of Justice (DOJ), issued final Title VI regulations which prohibit both intentional discrimination and facially neutral policies or practices that have the effect of discriminating based on race, color, or national origin.

January 12, 1984 EPA revised regulations issued. EPA, in coordination with DOJ, issued final consolidated non-discrimination regulations (PDF) (11 pp, 40K, About PDF) prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, and sex. The consolidated regulations implement Title VI, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Section 13 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972.

February 11, 1994 Environmental Justice Executive Order issued. The President issued Executive Order 12898 "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations." Its accompanying memorandum (PDF) (2 pp, 45K, About PDF) points out that environmental and civil rights statutes are tools for achieving environmental justice. In particular, it directs federal agencies to ensure compliance with Title VI for all federally-funded programs and activities that affect human health or the environment. Section 2-2 of Executive Order 12898 applies a Title VI-like discriminatory effects standard to EPA actions that substantially effect human health and the environment.

June 1996 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued report on federal agencies implementation of Title VI. The report (No. 910-00024-2) recognized the growing application of Title VI to environmental permitting, and recommended that EPA issue guidelines consistent with those called for by the DOJ that include detailed complaint procedures.

March 12, 1998 EPA established the Title VI Implementation Advisory Committee (Title VI Advisory Committee) under the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology. That Advisory Committee was comprised of environmental justice groups, representatives of state and local governments, businesses, and other interested stakeholders. The Title VI Advisory Committee was asked to focus primarily on possible guidance to EPA assistance recipients, such as state permitting agencies, and make recommendations to help them design programs that will address concerns under Title VI early in the permit process.

April 1999 Advisory Committee Report submitted. The Title VI Advisory Committee submitted its "Report of the Title VI Implementation Advisory Committee: Next Steps for EPA, State, and Local Environmental Justice Programs" to the EPA Administrator. The report includes recommendations on techniques that may be used by EPA financial assistance recipients to operate environmental permitting programs in compliance with Title VI.

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