Environmental justice has been a point of governmental concern since the Civil Rights Movement and has been specifically enforced as a government-wide mission and strategic planning requirement since NEPA's passage in 1970. Additionally, governmental bodies and agencies have been required to consider their EJ impact on low-income and minority communities since President Clinton's EO 12898 in 1994. Due to regulatory and enforcement measures like NEPA and EO 12898, EJ has had a broad effect on the strategic plans across United States federal agencies.
Several key agencies serve as a major source of governmental EJ information, but due to EJ's effects across social, economic, health, geographic, and environmental realms, as well as compliance for NEPA and EO 12898, most relevant federal agencies incorporate EJ action and strategic plans, initiatives, or projects into their programs and resources. Oftentimes, federal EJ efforts are channeled through the EPA as it serves as the Chair of the Interagency Working Group and the central point of contact for guidance, regulations, and initiatives.
The Federal Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group facilitates EO 12898 compliance through communication, activities, and innovation across the "federal family" of agencies addressing EJ. The IWG includes:
The National Environmental Justice Advisory Council is a federal advisory committee to the EPA established in 1993. NEJAC provides independent advice, recommendations, and evaluation to the EPA based on "a broad range of strategic, scientific, technological, regulatory, community engagement, and economic issues related to environmental justice."
NEJAC's goals for the EPA are to:
Integrate environmental justice considerations into Agency programs, policies and activities.
Improve the environment or public health in communities disproportionately burdened by environmental harms and risks.
Address environmental justice by ensuring meaningful involvement in EPA decision-making, building capacity in disproportionately burdened communities, and promoting collaborative problem-solving for issues involving environmental justice.
Strengthen its partnerships with other governmental agencies, such as other Federal agencies and State, Tribal, or local governments, regarding environmental justice issues.
Enhance research and assessment approaches related to environmental justice.