I'm not quite sure what to make of this but it is of a piece with other administration initiatives.*
From the Washington Times' Beltway Confidential column (Dec. 6, 2011):
President Obama's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) outlined an "environmental justice strategy" that would review how a variety of DHS activities, from interaction with local governments to granting regulatory permits, affect poor and minority populations.*See, for example:
DHS defines environmental justice as "the commitment of the Federal Government . . . to avoid placing disproportionately high and adverse effects on the human health and environment of minority populations and low-income populations."
Efforts to implement environmental justice will influence "our own operations, financial assistance to state and local governments, and [DHS'] regulatory permitting activities," DHS explained in the draft strategy.
To that end, the department will create a Directive and Instruction on Environmental Justice to "outline DHS roles and responsibilities" in the various agencies and programs."
Past examples of environmental justice affecting policy include: "coordinating with Native communities in Alaska on potential impacts of that may occur by increased vessel traffic and ol exploration as a result of melting Artic ice;" and "follow[ing] institutional controls to ensure that . . . non-federal grantees consider environmental justice in the delivery of disaster assistance."...MORE
A Promise of Environmental Justice for All Americans