Civil Rights and Environmental Justice

Ensuring no person shall be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NHDES.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) Title VI program ensures no person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination, under any program or activity receiving financial assistance from NHDES on the basis of race, color, or national origin. In addition, NHDES does not discriminate based on age, sex, marital status, religion, gender identity or gender expression, income, disability, sexual orientation, citizenship status, status as a veteran or any other legally prohibited basis. NHDES staff, applicants for, and recipients of, EPA assistance are expected to uphold these protections. To this end, NHDES has adopted this Civil Rights and Nondiscrimination Implementation Plan to ensure proper nondiscrimination measures are implemented and monitored.

Commissioner's Statement

NHDES is committed to ensuring equal participation in all projects, programs, and activities regardless of federal funding. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, requires that no person shall be discriminated against, denied the benefit of, or excluded from participation in any program due to race, color, or national origin. In addition, NHDES ensures equal participation regardless of age, sex, marital status, religion, gender identity or gender expression, income, disability, sexual orientation, citizenship status, status as a veteran, or any other legally prohibited basis.

As the Commissioner, I am responsible for working with the Civil Rights Coordinator and ensuring that they have the sufficient authority to implement the Civil Rights and Nondiscrimination Plan. I have appointed the Legal Unit Administrator as the Civil Rights Coordinator to manage and ensure the required Title VI program measures are fulfilled.

While the Civil Rights Coordinator is responsible for the management of the Plan, it is the duty of all NHDES employees, contractors, and grant or loan recipients to incorporate the requirements of this Plan into their work in order to comply with federal law.

Title VI is not only the law; it is fundamental to the success of NHDES. All NHDES employees, contractors, and grant or loan recipients are expected to uphold and implement the requirements of this Plan.

Nondiscrimination

Environmental Justice

Environmental justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

NHDES Environmental Justice Statement

Contact:

NHDES Environmental Justice Coordinator
Karen Craver
karen.m.craver@des.nh.gov
(603) 271-6865

Communication and Language Access Services

NHDES ensures that individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) have meaningful access to all NHDES programs. Policy guidance published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines LEP as “individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English.”

Communication and Language Access Services Provided

NHDES staff will consider the following four factors when determining the language access resources to provide when interacting with LEP communities:

  1. The number of LEP individuals likely to be served or affected by the project or program.
  2. The frequency in which LEP individuals may come in contact with the program or project.
  3. The nature and importance of the project or program for the LEP community.
  4. The availability and costs of language translation resources.

NHDES staff may utilize the American Communities Survey, LEP Community Mapping Tool, EJScreen: Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool, or other resources to determine which New Hampshire communities are considered LEP. NHDES will use these resources to determine the most common languages spoken. Upon request, written and oral communication regarding a project affecting LEP communities shall be translated and interpreted in the most effective way possible. Language access services will be provided by a third-party vendor. If necessary, language access services may also be provided by volunteer interpreters. Independently, NHDES may also undertake its own analysis on a project-by-project basis, depending on the demographic analysis of any area potentially impacted by a project and translate vital documents.

NHDES will provide written translation for vital documents for each eligible LEP language group that constitutes either:

  • 5% of the affected community’s population; or
  • Includes 1,000 people within the community who are likely to be encountered or affected by the project, program, or activity.

NHDES staff will use whichever of these two options comprises the least amount of people to determine document translation. If there are fewer than 50 people in a language group that reaches the 5% of the affected communities population threshold, NHDES is not required to translate vital documents, but may choose to do so. NHDES will provide written notice in the primary language of the LEP language group of their right to receive oral or written translation of these vital documents free of cost. LEP community members may request a translation of these vital documents.

NHDES will also provide oral interpretation services upon requests. Oral interpretation services may be provided for interactions with LEP individuals or communities. Oral interpretation services may also be provided for public meetings in LEP communities.

If NHDES staff encounter an individual who is hearing, deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, or has a speech disability and in need of interpretation services, the staff member may reach out to TTY/TDD Access: Relay NH. Text Telephone/Teletypewriter Relay Service can be provided to accommodate for translations services. The contact information is: TTY/TDD Access Relay NH: 1-800-735-2964 or dial 711 (in New Hampshire).

Questions, Concerns, and Request for Services: If you have any questions or concerns or specific needs regarding document translation, language interpretation or other communication access services, please contact the following staff:

Vincent Perelli
(603) 271-8989
Communication and Language Access Services Co-Coordinator

Dean Robinson
(603) 271-2047
Communication and Language Access Services Co-Coordinator

or Language-Access@des.nh.gov

 

To report a complaint, please complete the Discrimination Complaint Form. If you have other feedback that you would like to provide, please e-mail us at language-access@des.nh.gov. We want to hear from you and value your feedback!