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Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice


Environmental Justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income regarding the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

Environmental Justice is achieved when all citizens enjoy the same degree of protections and equal access to the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) programs and services to achieve a healthy environment in which to live, learn and work. No group of citizens should bear a disproportionate burden of environmental harms and risks, including those resulting from the adverse environmental consequences of conservation laws, regulations and policies.

NRCS’s Role in Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice principles are integrated into conservation program policies and into its Field Office Technical Guide, used by all 50 states and the Caribbean and Pacific areas. The agency has existing mechanisms to ensure the environmental and public-health concerns of historically underserved communities are considered in its decision-making process to ensure the fair implementation of policies, programs and activities nationwide.

NRCS’s goals and objectives regarding environmental justice include the following:

  • Assist minority, tribal, indigenuous and low–income rural communities nationwide to attain environmentally suitable living conditions and healthier lives. Historically underserved communities include African American, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific-Islander, American-Indian and Alaska Native tribes.
  • Work collaboratively with other federal, state and local governments, American Indian tribes, non-governmental organizations and private individuals to ensure activities, programs and services related to the NRCS conservation mission benefit all citizens in impacted communities. 
  • Require that minorities and American Indian tribes, to the greatest extent practicable, do not experience disproportionately high and/or adverse impacts as a result of NRCS programs, policies and activities.

If adverse effects of programs and services are identified, NRCS will take steps, including avoidance, minimization or mitigation of those impacts to the greatest extent possible.

Environmental Justice Tools Environmental Justice Tools Environmental Justice Executive Orders

Environmental Justice Links

Environmental Justice Contact

Sonya Neal Reeves

National Program Manager

Strategic Natural Resource Initiative

Phone: 202-205-1165