The Environmental Justice Advisory Group was created in 2016 by former MPCA Commissioner John Linc Stine, but the agency's work in this area dates back further.
Following action on the national level, the MPCA began formally working on environmental justice in the mid-1990s. Presidential Executive Order 12898, issued in 1994, directed each federal agency to make “achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies and activities on minority and low-income populations”. The Presidential Executive Order built on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin. As a recipient of federal funding, the MPCA is required to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The MPCA developed a policy for environmental justice that closely mirrors the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) policy.
In 2013 the MPCA renewed a commitment to environmental justice and added an environmental justice goal and objectives into the agency's strategic plan:
Pollution does not have a disproportionate negative impact on any group of people.
- Develop and implement program strategies to identify and address environmental justice concerns.
- Identify and enhance opportunities for all Minnesotans to provide meaningful input into MPCA environmental decision-making.