Publication Date

Fall 2023

Document Type



Today, environmental justice (EJ) is more than a significant and meaningful social movement. EJ has now emerged—after at least five decades—as a major initiative for the federal government and for many state governments. Since the beginnings of the EJ movement, its proponents have sought redress for the disproportionate and negative impacts of generations of environmental policy and siting decisions that resulted in adverse effects on the health, environment, economics, and climate of disadvantaged communities. Scientific research and “big data” programs now provide evidence supporting community EJ claims, and laws such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provide funds for improved environmental infrastructure, monitoring, and engagement for overburdened communities. In seeking to correct past environmental harms and to reduce ongoing threats, EJ programs now seek to reduce environmental dangers for adversely impacted communities and society as a whole. The development of EJ as a national goal, advances in science, and emerging questions of the constitutional parameters of EJ combine to reveal that judges who understand EJ claims and facilitate reasonable decisions to advance holistic solutions in communities are needed now more than ever.

Publication Title

The Judges' Journal






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