Environmental Justice: The Government Way

"President Clinton signs Executive Order 12898, Federal Action to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low Income Populations in the Oval Office. Participants include: Vice President Gore, Rep. John Lewis, Carol Browner, Attorney General Janet Reno, Katie McGinty and others." Clinton sits at his desk, surrounded by the other participants, who are standing.President Clinton issued Executive Order 12898 on February 11,1994, titled "Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations."

The cover letter (Presidential Memorandum) that accompanied this order declared that "In accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, each Federal agency shall ensure that all programs or activities receiving Federal financial assistance that affect human health or the environment do not directly, or through contractual or other arrangements, use criteria, methods, or practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin."

The Presidential Memorandum also included guidance on environmental impact analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act: "Each Federal agency shall analyze the environmental effects, including human health, economic and social effects, of Federal actions, including effects on minority communities and low-income communities, when such analysis is required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. section #321 et seq. Mitigation measures outlined or analyzed in an environmental assessment, environmental impact statement, or record of decision, whenever feasible, should address significant and adverse environmental effects of proposed Federal actions on minority communities and low-income communities."

U.S. Federal Government Documents and Organizations



State and Local





A list of environmental justice governance around the world is beyond the scope of this guide. Here are some links for information outside the United States: