Winter 2004

Section Releases New Survey of Environmental Justice Laws


Environmental Justice For All: A Fifty-State Survey of Legislation, Policies, and Initiatives, a comprehensive review of statutes, policies, and other initiatives that states have undertaken to address environmental justice issues, is now available as a Section and a law journal publication.

A collaborative effort of the Section's Environmental Justice Committee and the University of California Hastings Law School, the report finds that, over the past decade, environmental justice issues have gained increased political attention and response. More than 30 states have expressly addressed environmental justice concerns through a wide-range of policy strategies and approaches.

As explained in the report's foreword, environmental justice, considered to be the confluence of the environmental and civil rights movements, is understood commonly to stand for the principle that all people have the right to clean air, water, and land and that those potentially affected by environmental decisions should have meaningful participation in the decision-making process regardless of their race, income, or ethnicity.

The report, developed as a resource for community advocates, government officials, businesses, lawyers, and academics confronting and studying environmental justice, may be downloaded without charge from the Section's website at www.abanet.org/irr/committees/environmental. Environmental Justice Committee Chair Nicholas Targ hopes that the report will prove especially useful for local communities seeking help to address environmental issues in their neighborhoods. "Environmentally impacted communities are often in the greatest need of assistance and least able to afford expert advisors," he said. "We are pleased to be able to provide this information to them at no charge." For more information about the report, contact Nicholas at 202/564-2515.

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