As a public agency that receives federal funds and makes recommendations on federal expenditures, OKI is bound by Participation requirements for ensuring that federal funds are used fairly and without discrimination. In response to this requirement, OKI developed a policy for Environmental Justice (EJ) in order to expand its efforts to involve the public in transportation decision making and add provisions for assessing the equity of its transportation investments. Per federal guidelines, the target of Environmental Justice includes Minority and Low-Income population groups however OKI’s efforts to address Environmental Justice also apply to the Elderly, People with Disabilities and Zero-Car households. The basis for Environmental Justice is Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which states:
No person in the United States shall, on the grounds 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 addition to its EJ policy, OKI established an Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (EJAC) which participates in reviewing, scoring and ranking all funding application responses, specifically evaluating the overall net benefit to EJ population groups per Executive Order 12898. This Order directs every federal agency to make Environmental Justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing the effects of all programs, policies, and activities on Minority and Low-Income populations. If EJAC’s analysis of a funding application reveals that the proposed transportation system investment will result in a disparate impact the application must include information regarding how the impact will be mitigated and whether the overall net benefit outweighs the negative impact which may be a temporary impact.
OKI’s Environmental Justice Committee Members:
Chairman: Adam Goetzman, Green Township
Bernice Cooper, Freestore Foodbank
Erin Donovan, City of Fairfield Planning
Polly Doran, Council of Aging of Southwestern Ohio
Gina Douthat, TANK
James A. Foster, City of Trenton
Andrew J. Fluegemann, Ohio Department of Transportation – District 8
Allan C. Harris, National Technical Association – Cincinnati Chapter/Cincinnati NAACP
Joyce Kinley, Kinley and Associates
Alex Koppelman, Planning and Development Services of Kenton County
Kat Lyons, Center for Independent Living Options Inc.
Cindy M. Minter, Campbell County Planning & Zoning
Charles Tassell, City of Deer Park