Title VI & Environmental Justice
As the recipient of federal funds, TDEC is required to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which says that TDEC may not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin while providing services, benefits, or programs. Title VI includes two other requirements: providing language assistance to those who are limited English proficient (LEP) and supporting environmental justice. If TDEC or its sub-recipients are found to be in violation of Title VI, then federal agencies can suspend or terminate federal funding to TDEC and its programs. At this time, federal funds constitute about 20-25 percent of TDEC’s operating budget. Title VI is a statutory and regulatory requirement at the federal and state level.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal statute that provides:
"No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." 42 U.S.C. § 2000d
The state of Tennessee also requires compliance with Title VI. Tenn. Code § 4-21-904 provides:
"It is a discriminatory practice for any state agency receiving federal funds making it subject to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, or for any person receiving such federal funds from a state agency, to exclude a person from participation in, deny benefits to a person, or to subject a person to discrimination under any program or activity receiving such funds, on the basis of race, color, or national origin."
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) receives federal financial assistance; therefore, TDEC is required to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and accompanying rules and regulations. If TDEC fails to comply, it may be subject to the suspension or loss of its federal funding, in whole or in part.
TDEC must take steps to demonstrate its compliance with Title VI requirements, including, for example:
- Staff completion of Title VI training;
- Provision of language assistance services to Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons receiving programs or services from TDEC, free of charge; and
- Ensuring Title VI compliance of grantees, sub-recipients, and contractors receiving pass-through federal financial assistance.
TDEC is committed to ensuring all management staff, contractors, and service beneficiaries are aware of the provisions of and responsibilities associated with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
If you feel that you have been excluded from participation, denied benefits, or subjected to discrimination under a TDEC program or activity on the basis of race, color, or national origin, you may file a complaint using the following files.
For the convenience of grant sub-recipients and contractors, TDEC provides the following Title VI resources that sub-recipients and contractors can utilize and customize.
- One method sub-recipients can use to determine their community demographics is to consult the U.S. Census Bureau American Fact Finder. Enter state, county, city, town, or zip code and select "go".
- TDEC Title VI Training -For Sub-Recipients and Contractors. The online training will end with a certificate of completion. You must take a screenshot or photo of this certificate of completion to retain for your records and submit to TDEC's Grants Management System. If you exit out of the training without taking a screenshot of the certificate of completion, TDEC cannot retrieve the certificate for you. If you have any questions about the training, email TDEC.TitleVI@tn.gov and copy the contact from the respective TDEC program with which you are coordinating.
- Title VI Poster
- Title VI Brochure for Sub-Recipient Customization
- Title VI Complaint Process & Poster for Sub-Recipient Customization
- Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Policy Sub-Recipient Customization
- Strategy for Board Diversity for Sub-Recipient Customization
- Title VI Policy or Nondiscrimination Policy for Sub-Recipient Customization
TDEC promotes healthy and safe communities and quality environmental education for the benefit of the environment, public health and economy. The Department is committed to protecting the health of Tennessee's citizens and its environment, and to promoting environmental equity in the administration of its programs to the extent it may do so legally and practicably. "Environmental Justice" is based on the principle that all people should be protected from environmental pollution and have the right to a clean and healthy environment.
Environmental justice is:
- protection of the health of the people of Tennessee and its environment,
- equity in the administration of the State's environmental programs, and
- provision of adequate opportunities for meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.