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VA Environmental Justice Strategy Available

February 24, 2012

Environmental Justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) integrates EJ into its mission by ensuring that it identifies and addresses programs, policies, and activities with the potential for disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority, low-income, or tribal populations.

On February 11, 1994, the President signed Executive Order (EO) 12898 External link to a government website, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority and Low-Income Populations.  On August 4, 2011, VA and 16 other Federal agencies signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice and EO 12898 (EJ MOU).  Combined, EO 12898 and the EJ MOU (EJ MOU/EO 12898):

  • Require each covered and participating agency to “make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations.”
  • Declare the continued importance of identifying and addressing environmental justice considerations in agency programs, policies, and activities as provided in EO 12898.
  • Renew the process for agencies to provide environmental justice strategies and implementation progress reports.
  • Establish structures and procedures to ensure that the Environmental Justice Interagency Working Group (EJ IWG) operates effectively and efficiently.
  • Require development or review/update of each agency’s environmental justice strategy.
  • Require agencies to provide opportunities for the public to submit comments and recommendations relating to the agency’s Environmental Justice Strategy, Annual Implementation Progress Reports, and ongoing efforts to incorporate environmental justice principles into its programs, policies, and activities.

VA’s Environmental Justice Strategy was available for public review and comment until January 21, 2012.  All the comments which were received were incorporated and the document was finalized.

View the VA’s Environmental Justice Strategy and Implementation Report.