How Tennessee is Addressing Environmental Justice
- How Does Tennessee Define Environmental Justice and Environmental Justice Communities?
- How Does Tennessee Consider Environmental Justice in its Substantive Actions?
- How Does Tennessee Address Environmental Justice in its Procedures?
- Additional Tennessee Environmental Justice Provisions
- Tennessee Environmental Justice Contacts
- Where to Find Tennessee Environmental Justice Laws, Policies, and Tools
(with full citations) All States & Territories
How Does Tennessee Define Environmental Justice and Environmental Justice Communities?
Environmental Justice Definitions
There is no official statewide definition. However, the Tennessee Department of Health defines environmental justice as “not only protecting human health and the environment for everyone, but also ensuring that all people are treated fairly and given the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”
Environmental Justice Mapping Tools
The Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation maintains a Division of Remediation Sites mapping tool.
How Does Tennessee Consider Environmental Justice in its Substantive Actions?
Environmental Justice as a Policy of the Environmental Agency or Across All Agencies
Consideration of Environmental Justice in Permitting
Consideration of Environmental Justice in Enforcement
Consideration of Environmental Justice in Land Use
State Environmental Policy Act “Mini-NEPA”
Dedicated Funding to Environmental Justice Communities
Consideration of Cumulative Impacts
Prohibitions on Disparate Impact Discrimination
Established Environmental Rights
How Does Tennessee Address Environmental Justice in its Procedures?
Environmental Justice as Part of Environmental Agency’s Mission
Environmental Justice as Part of Other Agency’s Mission
Processes and Procedures (including Title VI)
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Office of Policy and Planning serves as the coordinating office for environmental justice. TDEC has a Title VI/Environmental Justice Coordinator and a Title VI Complaint Officer.
Any person who believes that a state agency has discriminated based on race, color, or national origin, including limited English proficiency (LEP), may file a written complaint within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission in addition to any complaint filed with the state or federal agency involved.
Enhanced Public Participation and Information Access
The TDEC does not have regulations regarding enhanced access, but the website’s environmental justice page notes that in some cases TDEC may “deem it appropriate to go above and beyond what is required by law when there is an action that is anticipated to be controversial, face significant community opposition, or impact a community that is environmentally overburdened.” TDEC has internal guidance that provides best practices to staff regarding public participation opportunities, including the use of EJScreen to understand community characteristics and develop appropriate public participation practices.
TDEC’s language assistance webpage is in English and lists a contact in each TDEC division “who can help customers get free language assistance in their division.” TDEC also has a Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Policy and Procedures.
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) also maintains an up-to-date list of employees who have volunteered interpreting skills. TDOT and TDEC have contracts with AVAZA to provide interpretation and translation services when needed.
Consultation with Indigenous Communities and Tribal Nations
Governmental Environmental Justice Structures, Positions, and Funding Streams
Environmental Justice Coordinating Agency
TDEC has a coordinating office in the Office of Policy and Planning which coordinates environmental justice for TDEC but coordinates with other state agencies on an as-needed basis.
Environmental Justice Coordinator
Environmental Justice Advisory Board
Funding for Environmental Justice
Additional Tennessee Environmental Justice Provisions
Tennessee Environmental Justice Contacts
Title VI/Environmental Justice Coordinator
Department of Environment and Conservation
Title VI Complaint Officer
Department of Environment and Conservation
Tennessee Department of Health
Title VI Compliance Officer
Office of Compliance
710 James Robertson Parkway, 5th Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
Where to Find Tennessee Environmental Justice Laws, Policies, and Tools
Legislation and Statutes
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Policy and Procedures, https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/environment/sustainable-practices/title-vi-and-environmental-justice/opsp_title-vi_lep-policy-and-procedures.pdf.
Tennessee Department of Transportation, TDOT Language Access Assessment: Subrecipient Limited English Proficiency Guide (2014), https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/tdot/civilrights/TDOT-LanguageAccessAssessmentSubrecipientLEP2014.pdf.