Environmental justice is the principle that all people have the right to clean air, clean water, and clean land, and that those potentially affected by environmental decisions should have a meaningful say in the decisionmaking process regardless of race, income, or ethnicity. Environmental policies can promote social justice by ensuring that the burdens of undesirable land uses are not borne disproportionately by communities that are already socially or economically disadvantaged.
The U.C. Hastings Center for State and Local Government Law (the Center) has produced four reports on the implementation of environmental justice principles at the federal and state levels. We hope that these reports help guide policymakers in their efforts to create and implement policies with social justice in mind.
Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) are projects designed to benefit the environment. SEPs are effectively a form of environmental community service, returning benefits to communities that have been victims of environmental degradation. The Center's work on SEPs integrates the principles of environmental justice into a comprehensive discussion of values and model practices, providing guidance to policymakers and other stakeholders who wish to implement fair and effective SEPs.
Environmental Justice for All: A Fifty-State Survey of Legislation, Policies and Cases (2010). The fourth edition's improved index and innovative keyword classification system enables researchers to compare initiatives across states with ease.
"Making the Case for Cap-and-Trade," The Recorder. (Recorder subscription required for access.) With defeat of Prop 23, pollution reduction is back on course, with the ARB implementing regulations to promote compliance, explains Hastings' Steven Bonorris.
"Environmental Justice in the Laboratories of Democracy" by Steven Bonorris and Nicholas Targ, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, Natural Resources & Environment Volume 25, Number 2, Fall 2010. © 2010 by the American Bar Association, republished by permission. The authors examine the efforts of Atlantic state governments as innovators of environmental justice.