The HRTPO convened the first gathering of the Environmental Justice Roundtable to discuss the unique role that transportation plays in the diverse communities that make up our Hampton Roads. We recognize that historically, not all communities and its members have enjoyed the same level of access or representation in the transportation planning process. By bringing together a wide range of citizens–community leaders, stakeholders, special interest groups and community organizations, we hope to benefit from the intimate knowledge you have of your community’s needs.
Roundtable discussions will be based upon candid conversations and the free flow of thoughts, ideas, and opinions that help us make the best possible decisions about transportation planning, the way in which we communicate with and gain feedback from the public, and how to best create a transparent, inclusive process, here in Hampton Roads.
The first roundtable was held at 5:30 p.m. on March 12, 2012, at the Regional Building Boardroom, 723 Woodlake Drive, Chesapeake, 23320.
Contact Kendall Miller at (757) 420-8300 or firstname.lastname@example.org concerning the event or future EJ Roundtable discussions.
The Definition of Environmental Justice
Environmental Justice (EJ) is “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of federal laws, regulations, and policies. In the words of Bunyan Bryant, “Environmental justice is served when people can realize their highest potential.”
EJ AND TITLE VI OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964
The EJ Executive Order signed by President William Jefferson Clinton in 1994, supplements the existing requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Each Federal agency is required to ensure that no person on grounds of race, color, or national origin is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or in any other way subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal assistance. Accordingly, Title VI prohibits recipients of Federal funds from actions that reflect “intentional discrimination” or that exhibit “adverse disparate impact discrimination” on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origin. Supplemental legislation provides these same protections from discrimination based on sex, age, disability or religion.
EJ AND TRANSPORTATION DECISION MAKING
Environmental Justice is more than a set of legal and regulatory obligations. Properly implemented, environmental justice principles and procedures improve all levels of transportation decision making. This approach will:
- Make better transportation decisions that meet the needs of all people. Enhance the public-involvement process, strengthen community-based partnerships, and provide minority and low-income populations with opportunities to learn about and improve the quality and usefulness of transportation in their lives.
- Improve data collection, monitoring, and analysis tools that assess the needs of, and analyze the potential impacts on minority and low-income populations.
- Partner with other public and private programs to leverage transportationagency resources to achieve a common vision for communities.
- Avoid disproportionately high and adverse impacts on minority and low-income populations.
- Minimize and/or mitigate unavoidable impacts by identifying concerns early in the planning phase and providing offsetting initiatives and enhancement measures to benefit affected communities and neighborhoods.