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A User’s Guide to Environmental Justice: Theory, Policy, and Practice

SPPUA Visiting Fellow Ken Kimmell and PhD Students Marisa Sotolongo, Yutong Si, and Alaina Boyle have published a white paper relevant to the United States Environmental Protection Agency and its state counterparts’ commitments to environmental justice. Addressing historic environmental injustice has become a top priority for federal and state governments, which have begun to apply environmental justice theory to practice.

The paper serves as a reference tool for policymakers interested in effectively implementing environmental justice policies, with information on how environmental justice communities are defined, best practices for measuring disproportionate environmental impacts, approaches to implementing environmental justice, and how the success or failure of environmental justice policies can be evaluated. Among other recommendations, the authors argue that the EPA and its state counterparts should work in collaboration with environmental justice communities and organizations to: 

  • Develop an overall definition of EJ communities including environmental, demographic, energy, climate, land-use, and community indicators.
  • Conduct and publicly release an internal assessment of how much EPA program funding has been invested in EJ communities relative to wealthier and whiter communities.
  • Pursue community-based, multi-sectoral environmental law enforcement, and favor the use of supplemental environmental projects to directly benefit environmental justice communities.

Read the whole paper here.

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