Environmental Justice in the 21st Century: Threats and Opportunities

November 28, 2017 5:00 pm — 6:30 pm
Washington, DC (and webinar)

This program was sponsored by Beveridge & Diamond, Environmental Law Institute, ABA CRSJ Environmental Justice Committee, ABA SEER Special Committee on Environmental Justice.

On October 24, 2017, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and U.S. Representative Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA) introduced a landmark piece of legislation to eliminate environmental injustice.

The Environmental Justice Act of 2017 (EJA) requires federal agencies to address environmental justice through agency actions and permitting decisions, and strengthens legal protections against environmental injustice for communities of color, low-income communities, and indigenous communities. The bill is the culmination of a months-long process of working with dozens of grassroots organizations across the country to craft a comprehensive bill that strengthens environmental justice protections for vulnerable communities.

This program featured a Keynote Address by Sen. Booker and a panel discussion on the various ways the EJA addresses critical issues for vulnerable communities nationwide (especially communities of color) in light of historical, ongoing challenges, as well as new ones posed by the Trump Administration. Other topics addressed included the changes at the Office of Environmental Justice of the EPA, the controversial recent appointments at EPA, recent attempts to limit science in EPA decision-making, and challenges to environmental protection for clean air, water, and land via threats to citizen suits and enforcement.

The panel included Mustafa Ali, Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization, for the Hip Hop Caucus, formerly head of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, and Patrice Simms, Vice President of Litigation for Earthjustice, formerly an attorney at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Justice - Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Natural Resources Defense Council. The program was moderated by Randy Hayman, of Beveridge & Diamond, PC.

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