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USDOT, FHWA, and FTA Release Environmental Justice Orders

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In July 2012, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a new circular, Environmental Justice Circular 4703.1 to lay out guidance to FTA grant recipients on complying with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) order updated in May 2012.  The FTA circular marks the first time the agency has separated its guidance on environmental justice (EJ) from Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and seeks to clarify the distinction between the two.  The circular provides in-depth information on conducting an EJ analysis, conducting meaningful participation and engagement activities, and integrating EJ principles into planning and service delivery and the NEPA process.  FTA will issue an additional document specific to Title VI compliance in the coming weeks.  Access the FTA circular at

In addition, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) released its own EJ order, number 6640.23A, in June 2012 to more clearly define its roles in ensuring nondiscrimination.  The FHWA order is online at

USDOT’s agency-wide order was issued in May 2012 and outlines how the objectives of environmental justice will be integrated into planning and programming, rulemaking, and policy formulation.  It clarifies certain aspects of the original Order, including the definitions of minority populations and also the distinction between a Title VI analysis and an environmental justice analysis conducted as part of a NEPA review.  For the USDOT order and other EJ resources, visit

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