United States Marine Corps and Environmental Justice Policy

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2014-04-23

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Abstract

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.

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Citation

Adams, Erin (2014). United States Marine Corps and Environmental Justice Policy. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8495.


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