Title VI and Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice in the OahuMPO Planning Process

Title VI and environmental justice are about fairness. Fairness means no group bears more than its share of negative environmental, social, or economic effects; and no group receives more than its share of benefits.

Environmental justice is not a new concept or program. It has its roots in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and bars intentional discrimination as well as disparate impact discrimination (i.e., a neutral policy or practice that has a disparate impact on protected groups). Title VI states, “No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

In 1994, President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 12898, directing all Federal agencies to implement environmental justice. The Environmental Justice Order further amplifies Title VI by providing that each Federal agency shall 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 and low-income populations.

OahuMPO Policy Statement for Title VI and EJ

The following OahuMPO Policy Statement for Title VI & Environmental Justice was recommended for approval by the Technical Advisory Committee on July 11, 2001 and approved by the Policy Committee on July 19, 2001:

It is the policy of the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) to adhere to the following Federal regulations:

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Environmental Justice (Executive Order 12898)
  • Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987
  • Age Discrimination Act of 1975

OahuMPO will fully comply with the above statutes and their implementing regulations and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, age, or low-income. OahuMPO will not exclude anyone from participation in, deny the benefits of, or otherwise discriminate under any of its programs or activities.

Title VI Investigation and Complaint Procedures

OahuMPO complies with the applicable Title VI requirements, and regularly monitors its plans and programs for compliance based on the Title VI performance measures documented in the reports below. However, any person who believes that he or she has been subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin by OahuMPO may file a Title VI complaint by completing and submitting a Title VI Complaint Form. A complaint may also be filed by a representative on behalf of such a person.

A complaint form may be downloaded here.

Completed complaint forms should be sent to:

Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization

707 Richards Street, Suite 200

Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

OahuMPO follows the Title VI investigation and complaint procedures developed by the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation. Refer to the Hawaii Department of Transportation’s website (HDOT) for information on OahuMPO’s nondiscrimination obligations and complaint procedures. In order to have the complaint considered under this procedure, the complainant must file the complaint no later than 180 days after the alleged incident.

Once a completed complaint form is received, OahuMPO will review it to determine if it is complete and if our office has jurisdiction. Within ten (10) working days of receiving a complaint form, OahuMPO will notify the complainant in writing, informing her/him of whether the complaint will be investigated by our office and of the anticipated timeline for completion.

Environmental Justice in the OahuMPO Planning Process

In October 2001, the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization (OahuMPO) published its report, Environmental Justice in the OahuMPO Planning Process. The report documented how OahuMPO evaluated the effectiveness of the metropolitan planning process in meeting Title VI and environmental justice requirements; and implemented a process to analyze the distribution of benefits and disproportionate impacts of planned investments.

Since 2001, OahuMPO has re-evaluated the EJ-designated block groups. The update is based on the release of the 2000 Census income data and geography, a revised methodology based on the settlement patterns of federally-defined minority groups, and local knowledge. This report supersedes Chapter 2 in the Environmental Justice in the OahuMPO Planning Process report.

The published report is available online. Printed copies of the report are available upon request for the cost of printing and postage.

Posted June 10, 2004

An update to the Environmental Justice in the OahuMPO Planning Process report is now available for download in PDF format:

* Environmental Justice in the OahuMPO Planning Process: Defining Environmental Justice Populations

This report supersedes Chapter 2, “Environmental Justice Populations” of the Environmental Justice in the OahuMPO Planning Process report.