||The United States Marine Corps (USMC) makes decisions every day that impact the environment.
Although intended to benefit society, these decisions can have a disproportionate
impact on poor and minority populations. On February 11, 1994, President Bill Clinton
issued Executive Order (EO) 12898 titled Federal Actions to Address Environmental
Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations. That same year, the Council
on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published official guidance on how the federal government,
including the USMC, should comply with EO 12898. To date, the USMC has incorporated
environmental justice analyses into the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process,
yet has not developed its own branch specific environmental justice evaluative process.
Without a documented evaluation process, compliance with CEQ requirements within environmental
justice analyses can be questioned.
This research investigates how effective and consistent the USMC incorporates environmental
justice concerns under the NEPA process, with a focus on Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS) documentation. An embedded single case study design for qualitative analysis
was utilized. Three of the most recent NEPA Final EISs, sponsored by the USMC, were
examined for this study. In addition, EIS supporting documentation were examined,
including the Record of Decision, press releases, public comments, and scoping materials.
In addition, interviews with key personnel involved with developing the EIS were conducted.
The results indicate that the USMC has included basic environmental justice analyses
into the EIS process based on CEQ requirements, yet the extent of implementation within
EIS documentation is not fully compliant or consistent with CEQ requirements. The
USMC could avoid gaps and inconsistencies within environmental justice analyses by
developing a specific methodology or guidance document. A methodology or guidance
document will give NEPA project managers guidelines on consistently incorporating
environmental justice concerns into NEPA EIS analyses.