Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VI - Law and EPA's Regulations
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Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (42 U.S.C. §2000d to 2000d-7) (PDF) (13 pp, 23K) prohibits recipients of federal financial assistance from discriminating on the basis of race, color, or national origin in their programs or activities. Title VI itself prohibits intentional discrimination.
Under EPA's Title VI implementing regulations, EPA-funded agencies are prohibited from taking acts, including permitting actions, that are intentionally discriminatory or have a discriminatory effect based on race, color, or national origin.
EPA's Program to Implement Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in all programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. Title VI itself prohibits intentional discrimination.
The Supreme Court has ruled, however, that Title VI authorizes federal agencies, including EPA, to adopt implementing regulations that prohibit discriminatory effects as well as intentional discrimination. Frequently, discrimination results from policies and practices that are neutral on their face, but have the effect of discriminating. Facially-neutral policies or practices that result in discriminatory effects violate EPA's Title VI regulations unless it is shown that they are justified and that there is no less discriminatory alternative.
Title VI allows persons to file administrative complaints with federal departments and agencies alleging discrimination by financial assistance recipients. The Office of Civil Rights has the responsibility within EPA to process and review Title VI administrative complaints.
EPA’s Guidance on Title VI
For example, as part of its obligations under Title VI, recipients of EPA financial assistance must provide meaningful access to Limited English Proficient (LEP) persons. To help recipients of EPA financial assistance satisfy its Title VI obligations, EPA issued:
- Guidance to Environmental Protection Agency Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons (LEP Recipient Guidance) (PDF) (12 pp, 226K)
- Title VI Public Involvement Guidance for EPA Assistance Recipients Administering Environmental Permitting Programs (PDF) (11 pp, 6.3M) (Public Involvement Guidance)
- Draft Guidance for Investigating Title VI Administrative Complaints Challenging Permits (Draft Revised Investigation Guidance)
- Advancing Environmental Justice through Title VI (Draft) (PDF) (11 pp, 647K) focusing on Title VI and its integration with Plan EJ 2014, sets forth goals, strategies, and activities that will assist in building a robust Title VI civil rights program. This implementation plan was developed by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), in consultation with the Office of Environmental Justice and the Office of General Counsel.
Title VI Settlements
You can find settlement agreement information at EPA's Title VI Settlements site.