Environmental Justice

MORPC, its members, and community partners are committed to addressing barriers that impact many historically marginalized, disadvantaged, and underserved communities face across the region.

We reaffirm this commitment by identifying, monitoring, and working with key stakeholders to address inequities in communities across Central Ohio. As the regional council for nearly 90 members and the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Central Ohio Region, MORPC is charged with complying with Title VI of the Civil Right Act of 1964, Environmental Justice, and Justice40 requirements.

Per the U.S. Department of Justice, Title VI of the landmark Civil Rights Case states that “No person in the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color or national origin, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Building upon the foundation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Presidential Executive Order (E.O 12898) – Federal Actions to Address Environment Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, was issued to direct federal agencies to identify and address disproportionally high adverse human health and environmental effects of their programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations. Put into effect in 1995, the E.O. requires each federal agency to develop an agency-wide environmental (EJ) strategy to implement its requirements.

On January 27, 2021, Presidential Executive Order (E.O. 14008) – Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad was issued. E.O. 14008, known as Justice40, mandates at least 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain Federal investments must go to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.

What Kinds of Investments Fall within the Justice40 Initiative?

  • Climate change, clean energy, and energy efficiency
  • Clean transit
  • Affordable and sustainable housing
  • Training and workforce development
  • Remediation and reduction of legacy pollution
  • Development of critical clean water and wastewater infrastructure.

Learn more about the federal mandates to which MORPC is committed in its efforts to recognize the barriers that many historically marginalized, disadvantaged, and underserved communities face across the region.

In February 2024, MORPC, alongside its partners, COTA and the Columbus Partnership, hosted the Columbus Regional Justice40 Training session for local nonprofit, higher education, and government leaders about the Justice40 Initiative. This training provided attendees with information about J40, and tools and techniques to take back to their organizations to help them better incorporate the initiative into principles and practices. 

MORPC’s Approach to Title VI and Environmental Justice

The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) operates its programs and services without regard to race, color, and national origin in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Any person who believes she or he has been aggrieved by any unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI may file a complaint with MORPC. To learn more about MORPC’s Title VI Non-Discrimination policy, click here.

MORPC, in response to addressing environmental justice challenges in the Central Ohio region, developed a process to assess the impacts of the transportation planning process, the regional transportation plan, and the Transportation Improvement Program on target populations. MORPC identified three (3) principles to ensure environmental justice considerations are being properly integrated into the transportation planning process:

  1. Adequate public involvement of low-income and minority populations in regional transportation decision-making.
  2. Assess whether there were disproportionately high and adverse impacts on low-income and minority populations resulting from federal programs.
  3. Assure that the low-income and minority populations receive a proportionate share of the benefits of federal transportation investments.

As part of an ongoing aspect of MORPC’s planning work, each program, the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) update must include a qualitative environmental justice analysis.

By incorporating Environmental Justice and non-discrimination policies into the transportation and decision-making processes, MORPC and its community partners are working together to improve the quality of life and ensure a more prosperous and sustainable future for everyone in the Central Ohio region.

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