Fellows in the News

This Note seeks to paint a picture of what working toward environmental justice should look like. Focusing on the demands that environmental justice communities voiced through the Principles of Environmental Justice, it posits that  three  key  components  are  necessary  to  comprehensively  achieve environmental justice: distributive justice, recognitional justice, and procedural justice. Common understandings of environmental justice often miss either one or  both  of  the  latter  two  components.  This  Note  puts  a  name  on  work  that simultaneously addresses all three: comprehensive environmental justice work. By  developing  a  common  understanding  of comprehensive  environmental justice,  this  Note  aims  to  ensure  that  those  who  care  about  achieving environmental  justice  understand  the  need  to  address  each  component.  For environmental justice supporters and partners who are eager to contribute to the mov  ement in the most efficient and effective way, a common understanding of comprehensive  environmental  justice  work  can  aid  in  identifying  which organizations  deserve  their  resources.  For  lawyers  who  aim  to  aid  the movement,  a  common  understanding  will  contextualize  their  role  in  the movement and the components they are addressing.

Part I recounts the events leading up to the First National People of Color Environmental  Leadership  Summit  and  adoption  of  the  Principles  of Environmental Justice. Part II traces the government’s attempts to implement environmental justice. Part III evaluates the role of the lawyer in actualizing thisunderstanding  of  comprehensive  environmental  justice.  Part  IV  assesses  an Earthjustice-led  coalition’s  role  in  alleviating  blood-lead-level  disparities  in environmental justice communities in a recent Ninth Circuit case. Part V briefs policy  implications  of  a  fragmented  understanding  of  environmental  justice. Finally,  by  identifying  good  practices  that  large  organizations  are  currently employing,  I  conclude  with  some  guideposts  for  empowering  rather  than usurping the communities who founded the environmental justice movement.

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