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What is Environmental Justice?
"Activists looked around the nation and saw a pattern: Pollution-producing facilities are often sited in poor communities of color... regulatory agencies and local planning and zoning boards had learned that it was easier to site such facilities in low-income African-American or Latino communities than in primarily white, middle-to-upper-income communities." National Resource Defense Council - The Environmental Justice Movement.
Important Works at the Law LIbrary
Environmental Justice in the Deep South: A Golden Anniversary Reflection on Stimulus and Change
THE YEAR 2013 MARKS THE FIFTHIETH ANNIVERSARY OF Letter From Birmingham Jail, which was written by the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (“King”).1 King wrote the famous letter after his Good Friday arrest in Birmingham, Alabama,2 protesting against what he often called “the iron feet of oppression.”3 In responding to fellow *400 clergy who called King's dissident actions “unwise and untimely,”4 Letter From Birmingham Jail was an indictment on the state of injustice in America, especially the Deep South. For King, the twentieth century American Civil Rights Movement (“the Movement”) was a response to the legal system's contradiction between ideals of law and justice and the reality of legally sanctioned discrimination against minorities.
After Flint: Environmental Justice as Equal Protection
The lead crisis in Flint, Michigan has captivated the nation, prompting calls for reform.1 For its part, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently reaffirmed that environmental justice is a priority.2 Even so, the discourse surrounding Flint's aftermath has been surprisingly unimaginative. We offer a somewhat different way of understanding Flint than has been suggested to date: Flint as a paradigmatic case of unequal protection due to the state's failure to enforce the laws. While tougher regulation of lead in water sources is clearly in order--federal testing requirements are notoriously underinclusive3--Flint is less a story of weak laws than a tragedy of underenforcement. We contend that the promise of equal protection must extend to the realm of environmental law enforcement.
Public Hazard, Personal Peril: The Impact of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Environmental Justice Movement
This article argues that the local emphasis of what I call micro-movements that form the larger Environmental Justice Movement could gain more traction from relationships with Non-Governmental Organizations. Such partnerships are emerging on a national level; however, since the localized movements communicate with, but are not partners with, national organizations such as the National Black Environmental Network, it is unclear how such partnerships add value to the activities of local groups. Moreover, some partnerships are forged for the organization of a specific event such as a conference or working group study.
Intergenerational Justice, Environmental Law, and Restorative Justice
Global climate change is well underway and its impacts are reaching far into the future. As these impacts progress, they present core questions of intergenerational justice. What does justice require of the current generation in tackling climate change to safeguard the wellbeing of future generations? How is the current generation to achieve a just relationship with those to come in light of the atrocious violations represented by global climate change? Taking the Juliana v. United States lawsuit as an example, I argue that we are not equipped to address the current climate crisis using existing environmental law, and therefore our obligations for future generations remain unmet. In that light, I demonstrate the unique contributions of the restorative justice framework to the discussion of intergenerational justice, and how restorative justice can address not only environmental crime, but also the harms that future generations will experience because of climate change.
The Bureau of Environmental Justice and Change from the Top
this paper will explore the genuine benefits an environmental justice-focused bureau of the Attorney General's office could provide, as well as its serious shortcomings.
If, as commentators such as Cole argue, litigation and top-down approaches are ineffective or counterproductive to addressing the root causes of environmental injustice, what options remain for policymakers who genuinely want to address the problem of environmental justice? Recent examples of major environmental injustices, such as the Flint Water Crisis, might signal the gravity of environmental justice issues to policymakers and encourage them to harness their moral obligation to prevent environmental injustice before it happens. To such policymakers, the costs of waiting for environmental justice communities to organize themselves to address the problems that affect them are morally, and perhaps politically, too high. Part II will address whether, in light of these costs, any other top-down public alternatives to the attorney general model of increasing environmental quality in environmental justice communities might more effectively address the root causes of environmental injustice.
Environmental Justice: Legal Research and Practice by
Environmental Justice: Legal Theory and Practice provides a thought-provoking exposition and comprehensive review of the complex mixture of environmental laws and civil rights legal theories that are central to this still-evolving area of law. The book, now in its 4th edition, includes all of the significant cases and developments that have occurred since the prior edition. Readers will come away with a deep understanding of the dynamics of environmental justice and gain insight as to how best to address the issue through enlightened leadership in our communities, government agencies, state bar associations, law offices and legal services providers, law school clinics and academic institutions, and corporations.
Call Number: KF 3775 .H55 2009
Publication Date: 2009
Environmental Justice: Law, Policy & Regulation by
Environmental justice is a significant and dynamic contemporary development in environmental law. Rechtschaffen, Gauna and new coauthor O¿Neill provide an accessible compilation of interdisciplinary materials for studying environmental justice, interspersed with extensive notes, questions, and a teacher¿s manual with practice exercises designed to facilitate classroom discussion. It integrates excerpts from empirical studies, cases, agency decisions, informal agency guidance, law reviews, and other academic literature, as well as community- generated documents. This second edition includes new chapters addressing climate change, international environmental justice, and a capstone case study. It also adds expanded coverage of risk and the public health, empirical environmental justice research, and environmental justice for American Indian peoples.
Call Number: KF 3775 .R385 2002
Publication Date: 2002
Important Historical Works at Founders'
Dumping in Dixie by
This book provides the major economic, social, and psychological impacts associated with the siting of noxious facilities and their significance in mobilizing the African American community. It explores the barriers to environmental and social justice experienced by African Americans.
Call Number: HC 107 .A13 B85 1994
Publication Date: 2000
Environmental Inequalities by
By examining environmental change through the lens of conflicting social agendas, Andrew Hurley uncovers the historical roots of environmental inequality in contemporary urban America. Hurley's study focuses on the steel mill community of Gary, Indiana, a city that was sacrificed, like a thousand other American places, to industrial priorities in the decades following World War II. Although this period witnessed the emergence of a powerful environmental crusade and a resilient quest for equality and social justice among blue-collar workers and African Americans, such efforts often conflicted with the needs of industry. To secure their own interests, manufacturers and affluent white suburbanites exploited divisions of race and class, and the poor frequently found themselves trapped in deteriorating neighborhoods and exposed to dangerous levels of industrial pollution. In telling the story of Gary, Hurley reveals liberal capitalism's difficulties in reconciling concerns about social justice and quality of life with the imperatives of economic growth. He also shows that the power to mold the urban landscape was intertwined with the ability to govern social relations.
Call Number: HC 108 .G3 H87 1995
Publication Date: 1995
Transforming Environmentalism by
Contemporary public policy circles are quick to acknowledge that environmental factors contribute to ill health and pose a particular threat to poor and minority communities. But public officials rarely examined the distribution of environmental hazards such as polluted air and contaminated water. In the 1980s, as toxic waste facilities proliferated, the environmental justice movement demanded that impoverished communities no longer be burdened by excessive environmental risks. In Transforming Environmentalism, Eileen McGurty explores a moment central to the emergence of the environmental justice movement. In 1978, residents of predominantly African American Warren County, North Carolina, were horrified to learn that the state planned to build a landfill in their county to hold forty thousand cubic yards of soil that was contaminated with PCBs from illegal dumping. They responded to the state's plans with a four-year resistance, ending in a month of protests with over 500 arrests from civil disobedience and disruptive actions.McGurty traces the evolving approaches that residents took to contest "environmental racism" in their community and shows how activism in Warren County spurred greater political debate and became a model for communities across the nation. Transforming Environmentalism explores how the specific circumstances of the Warren County events shaped the formation of the environmental justice movement and influenced contemporary environmentalism.
Call Number: GE 235 .N8 M35 2007
Publication Date: 2009-09-11
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