Title VI and Environmental Justice

What is Title VI?

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 Title VI Complaint Process and Title VI Complaint Form.

TDEC Title VI Resources:

Title VI Resources available for Sub-Recipients and Contractors:

For grant sub-recipients and contractors that do not have a Title VI program, TDEC has made its Title VI program resources available online for utilization and customization.​

What is Environmental Justice?

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.