Summary: S.1996 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.1996. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (10/24/2017)

Environmental Justice Act of 2017

This bill requires agencies to address the disproportionate impact of environmental and human health hazards on communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities resulting from agencies' programs and policies.

This bill provides statutory authority for:

  • the interagency Federal Working Group on Environmental Justice,
  • certain environmental justice requirements established under Executive Order 12898,
  • a guidance titled "Environmental Justice Guidance Under the National Environmental Policy Act,"
  • a guidance titled "EPA Policy on Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribes: Guidance for Discussing Tribal Treaty Rights,"
  • the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council,
  • the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program,
  • the Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement Program, and
  • the Community Action for a Renewed Environment grant programs.

The bill amends the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act) to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address potential cumulative impacts of pollutant discharges when issuing or renewing permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program. The bill amends the Clean Air Act to require the EPA to address potential cumulative impacts of a major stationary source of air pollutants when issuing or renewing permits for those sources.

The bill states that the authorization to bring citizen suits under certain environmental laws does not preclude the right of an individual to bring a civil action for deprivation of implied rights under those laws or common law. The bill amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to allow a person aggrieved by the failure of a covered entity to comply with the Act to bring an action against the entity in a federal or state court for discriminatory practices.