The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has preliminarily ruled that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is in violation of Title VI under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Federal investigators found that the state agency failed to comply with several nondiscrimination requirements, such as ensuring that everyone — including those who aren’t proficient in English — can participate in public comment periods, not having a staff person for handling Title VI complaints, and lacking an official notice of nondiscrimination.
The ruling marks one of just a few times in the EPA’s 50-year history that the agency has made a finding of noncompliance in a Title VI complaint. In fact, 90 percent of civil rights complaints brought to the EPA aren’t even investigated, according to reporting from the Center for Public Integrity. But experts say the decision in Missouri, along with the EPA’s recent comments voicing civil rights concern over a metal scrapyard in Chicago, are indicative of the possible shift under the Biden administration toward prioritizing environmental justice.
“In the past, [the] EPA has never really seriously enforced its... Read more