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20111116 Dhs Environmental Justice Strategy

20111116 Dhs Environmental Justice Strategy

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Published by Washington Examiner

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Published by: Washington Examiner on Dec 06, 2011
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05/24/2012

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D
EPARTMENT OF
H
OMELAND
S
ECURITY
 E
NVIRONMENTAL
J
USTICE
S
TRATEGY
 S
EPTEMBER
2011
V
ISION
S
TATEMENT
 
“Environmental justice” describes the commitment of the Federal Government, through itspolicies, programs, and activities, to avoid placing disproportionately high and adverse effects onthe human health and environment of minority populations or low-income populations. Asdescribed in the 2010 Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR), our Nation’s vision of homeland security is a homeland safe and secure, resilient against terrorism and other hazards,and where American interests and aspirations and the American way of life can thrive. In seekingto fulfill this vision, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) aspires to avoid burdeningminority and low-income populations with a disproportionate share of any adverse human healthor environmental risks associated with our efforts to secure the Nation. DHS joins with otherdepartments and agencies to appropriately include environmental justice practices in our largermission efforts involving federal law enforcement and emergency response activities.
I.
 
I
NTRODUCTION
 A. Overview
DHS’ ability to affect environmental justice arises principally through environmental review of the impact of our own operations, financial assistance to state and local governments, andthrough regulatory permitting activities. Recognizing that the incorporation of environmental justice policies may be highly variable across parts of the Department depending on acomponent’s mission, this Environmental Justice Strategy is intended to promote acomprehensive, consistent and adaptive strategy among our components.In August 2011, DHS joined a Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Justice (EJMOU) to participate in government-wide environmental justice efforts, consistent with DHS’own authorities and missions, and is a “Participating Agency” in the Interagency Working Groupon Environmental Justice, pursuant to section III.B of the EJ MOU.In accordance with Executive Order 12898 and the EJ MOU, federal agencies, including DHS,agreed to fulfill the following commitments on Federal Agency Environmental Justice Strategies,Public Input, and Annual Reporting:
 
Environmental Justice Strategy.
By September 30, 2011, DHS will develop anEnvironmental Justice Strategy. DHS will provide public access to its Strategy, includingposting a draft of the Strategy on its public website.
 
Public Input.
Consistent with Executive Order 12898, section 5.5, and the EJ MOU, sectionIII.C, DHS will ensure that meaningful opportunities exist for the public to submitrecommendations relating to the agency’s Environmental Justice Strategy and to the agency’s
 
 
ongoing efforts to incorporate environmental justice principles into its programs, policies,and activities. The DHS website posting will provide a mechanism for members of the publicto submit comments.
 
Annual Implementation Progress Report.
By February 11 of each year, beginning in2012, DHS will provide a concise report on progress during the previous fiscal year towardachieving the goals of Executive Order 12898 and implementing the agency’s EnvironmentalJustice Strategy. The annual report, which will include a summary of comments submitted bymembers of the public, and any updates or revisions to the agency’s Environmental JusticeStrategy, will be posted on its public website.
 
Component-Specific Considerations.
Along the nation’s land borders and coastal waters,DHS has a significant physical presence, principally through the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S.Customs and Border Protection (CBP), where environmental justice considerations arise.Through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) work in emergencypreparedness and response, the agency helps ensure environmental justice in communitiesthat must prepare for or respond to an emergency or disaster.
 
Authorities.
The National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. sec. 4321 et seq., and theCouncil on Environmental Quality regulations implementing that act, 40 C.F.R. parts 1500-1518, require that DHS understand the environmental effects of proposed decisions and tominimize those effects to avoid, if possible, having any significant adverse environmentalimpact. Ensuring nondiscrimination in significant actions affecting human health and theenvironment may be required by a range of federal authorities, including the United StatesConstitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. sec. 2000d et seq
.
,including DHS’ implementing regulations at 6 C.F.R. part 21 and 44 C.F.R. part 7.Additional information on Title VI is provided in Appendix A.
B. Relationship of Environmental Justice to the Department of Homeland SecurityMission
The 2010 QHSR provides the strategic framework for the activities of DHS. It describes fivemissions of DHS:
 
Preventing terrorism and enhancing security
 
Securing and managing the nation’s borders
 
Enforcing and administering our immigration laws
 
Safeguarding and securing cyberspace
 
Ensuring resilience to disasters
The Department’s missions often include interaction with communities that may includeminority populations and low-income populations. Of the five homeland security missionsidentified in the 2010 QHSR, the following three missions have a significant nexus forEnvironmental Justice considerations:
 
 
 
Preventing terrorism and enhancing security
includes DHS taking action to secure ourports for both people and goods moving in and out of the country. Communities in thevicinity of both sea and air ports may include low income and minority populations.
 
Securing and managing the nation’s borders
requires that DHS maintain a substantialpresence along thousands of miles of land and water border that may include low income andminority populations and diverse natural communities and native ecosystems.
 
Ensuring resilience to disasters
requires DHS to have robust programs for both emergencypreparedness and disaster recovery. Meaningful communication with potentially affectedcommunities, including minority populations and low income populations, is critical toensuring that those impacted by disaster receive fair and equitable treatment in both planningand preparedness activities and recovery actions.
II.
 
2011
 
D
EPARTMENT OF
H
OMELAND
S
ECURITY
E
NVIRONMENTAL
J
USTICE
S
TRATEGY
A. How the Environmental Justice Strategy Was Developed
DHS began the development of this Environmental Justice Strategy in FY 2010, with theSecretary of Homeland Security’s participation in the White House Environmental Justice Forumin December 2010. Initially through participation in the Interagency Environmental JusticeWorking Group, DHS began tailoring its strategy to its mission requirements by establishinginternal environmental justice points of contact in its major areas of responsibility. The internalpoints of contact met regularly through a working group co-chaired by the Office for CivilRights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and the Directorate of Occupational Safety andEnvironmental Programs (OSEP) within the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (OCAO)to identify programs already implemented with consideration to environmental justice. Thisstrategy was developed over the course of a year-long process of discussion and formal internalreview. These ongoing efforts reinforced the Department’s commitment and are listed inAppendix B.
B. Department-wide Roles and Responsibilities
Senior leadership in the following program areas have important roles in ensuring thatenvironmental justice is appropriately integrated into their specific mission: maritime safety,security, and stewardship; federal assistance authority; emergency management programs; bordersecurity; transportation security; immigration services; law enforcement training; science andtechnology research; and mission support and asset management. As the Department’s capacitiesand mission areas evolve in response to improved understanding of emerging threats to safetyand security, the concepts of this strategy will be extended to match the commitment toenvironmental justice in those new areas.Two DHS headquarters offices will lead efforts to ensure the success of the EnvironmentalJustice Strategy.
 
Office of the Chief Administrative Officer (OCAO)
: Environmental justiceconsiderations are taken into account at the earliest stages of planning new policies,

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