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EPA and Recent Environmental Justice Developments: NEPA, Changing State Laws, Title VI

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Recorded event now available

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This CLE webinar will guide environmental counsel on the impact of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), its recent amendments, applicable state law changes, and the recent role of courts. The panel will also examine environmental justice (EJ) trends, applicability of Title VI, establishment of the new EJ office, EPA's Office of General Counsel (OGC) new guidance, the updated EPA EJSCREEN mapping tool, and best practices for addressing environmental disparities with proposed projects and facilities.


Historically, NEPA is one of the most frequently litigated environmental statutes. NEPA requires federal agencies to assess the environmental and related social and economic effects of proposed actions before making decisions on permits, federal land management actions, infrastructure, and publicly owned facilities. NEPA also requires federal agencies to prepare detailed environmental assessments and environmental impact statements assessing environmental impacts and alternatives to significant federal actions.

Under NEPA's policies and procedures, all state, county, and local government entities as a best practice should have written and published policies for effective public participation consistent with Title VI and EPA's public participation guidance. NEPA also has critical relevancy to the private sector as it applies to federal permits, grants, rights-of-way, leases, and other necessary actions.

The current administration has continually refocused the EPA and federal agency enforcement priorities to address climate change and EJ in particularly disadvantaged communities. Recently to better advance EJ and enforce civil rights laws in overburdened communities, the EPA launched its new national EJ office with more than 200 EPA staff members across all 10 regions. Additionally, the EPA's OGC released its new "Interim Environmental Justice and Civil Rights in Permitting Frequently Asked Questions" (EJ FAQs) and an updated version of the agency's "Legal Tools to Advance Environmental Justice" (Legal Tools). The EJ FAQs covers over 20 pages of guidance materials and demonstrates how the EPA will consider EJ in permitting decisions and the interplay of civil rights compliance. EPA's Legal Tools is an expanded compilation of legal authorities that pinpoints the environmental and civil rights statutes EPA uses to ensure EJ and equity agendas are integrated across the agency's policies, programs, and activities. Also, the EPA recently announced updates to its EJSCREEN mapping tool including "supplemental indexes" that offer a different perspective and greater flexibility in the ways that data can be considered within EJSCREEN.

Listen as our authoritative panel of environmental attorneys highlights recent EJ trends at the federal, state, and regulatory level--particularly how EJ concerns must be addressed in the permitting process. The panel will also offer guidance on project timelines and best practices for evaluating a community's health, social, and economic demographics for securing a meaningful EJ analysis.



  1. Overview of NEPA and recent amendments
    1. NEPA's policies and procedures
    2. NEPA and case law
  2. EJ recent developments and trends
    1. State laws and EJ
    2. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act
    3. New EJ national office
    4. EPA's OGC guidance
    5. Updated EJSCREEN mapping tool
  3. Remedies and best practices


The panel will examine these and other key issues:

  • What is the scope of NEPA and recent amendments?
  • How do changing state laws and court decisions provide new avenues for EJ claims?
  • What steps can counsel take to assist their clients with EJ best practices in moving projects forward?


Keyes Fleming, Gwen
Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming

DLA Piper

Ms. Fleming advises a wide variety of business, institutional and organizational clients on all aspects of...  |  Read More

Perdue, Stephanie
Stephanie Bergeron Perdue

Baker Botts

Ms. Perdue focuses her practice on environmental law, advising clients on matters spanning a wide variety of media,...  |  Read More

Targ, Nicholas
Nicholas W. Targ

Partner, Co-Chair Environmental Team
Holland & Knight

Mr. Targ has more than 25 years of experience assisting clients in the public and private sectors efficiently...  |  Read More

Sweet, William
William Sweet

Taft Stettinius & Hollister

Mr. Sweet’s practice is focused on environmental law, including litigation. He has experience working closely...  |  Read More

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