Integrating EJ into Federal Policies and Programs: Examining the Role of Regulatory Impact Analyses and Environmental Impact Statements

37 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2008

See all articles by Shalini P. Vajjhala

Shalini P. Vajjhala

Resources for the Future

Sarah Szambelan

Resources for the Future

Amanda Van Epps

University of Texas at Austin

Date Written: October 15, 2008

Abstract

Following Executive Order 12898 in 1994, federal agencies have taken a variety of steps to incorporate environmental justice (EJ) into their programs and practices. Two scales at which these efforts are critical are regulatory design and enforcement. This study evaluates Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIAs) and Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) across three federal agencies (the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, and the Environmental Protection Agency) to compare the extent to which EJ is addressed at these two scales, across agencies, and over time. By searching agency documents for key EJ variables, such as site, population, and impact characteristics, we develop a framework to determine if RIAs and EISs include sufficient information to identify disproportionate impacts of proposed regulations or projects on minority and low-income communities. Results of this analysis reveal that EJ issues are noted more frequently in all three agencies' EISs over time, but few RIAs or EISs contain enough data to assess whether EJ impacts are significant.

Keywords: environmental justice, Regulatory Impact Analysis, RIA, Environmental Impact Statement, EIS, content analysis, program evaluation

JEL Classification: Q58

Suggested Citation

Vajjhala, Shalini P and Szambelan, Sarah and Van Epps, Amanda, Integrating EJ into Federal Policies and Programs: Examining the Role of Regulatory Impact Analyses and Environmental Impact Statements (October 15, 2008). RFF Discussion Paper No. 08-45, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1299062 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1299062

Shalini P Vajjhala (Contact Author)

Resources for the Future ( email )

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Washington, DC 20036
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HOME PAGE: http://www.rff.org/Vajjhala.cfm

Sarah Szambelan

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Amanda Van Epps

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

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