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Vibrant Environment

An Ongoing Battle: Fighting the Impacts of Uranium Mining in Southwestern Indigenous Communities

By Siena Fouse, Intern, Research and Publications
Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Indigenous communities in the Southwestern United States have been battling the impacts of uranium mining since the early 1940s. The geology of the Colorado Plateau was found to be rich in the radioactive mineral and drew mining to the area. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) sought uranium to develop nuclear weapons during the Cold War, which fueled the interest of mining companies that opened uranium mines and mills on and around indigenous land.

Mapping Inequity

By Siena Fouse, Intern, Research and Publications, and Lovinia Reynolds , Policy Analyst and Environmental Justice Coordinator
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

To address environmental inequity, we first need to understand where inequity exists geographically. Maps help model our reality and are a useful tool for locating and addressing environmental inequity. The power of maps in environmental justice was first revealed in 1987 in Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States, published by the Commission on Racial Justice.

Disparity, Disease, and Drinking Water: COVID-19 and Safe Drinking Water Access in Indian Country

Monument Valley
By Cynthia R. Harris, Staff Attorney; Director of Tribal Programs; Deputy Director of the Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs
Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Pandemics are global in nature, but their impacts are anything but uniform. COVID-19 is exposing substantial inequities, including disproportionate health and economic consequences for minorities. From medical care to broadband, different demographics have vastly different access to critical resources in a widespread crisis. Indian country is especially hard hit by coronavirus. It is the locus where matters of public health, Indigenous sovereignty, and environmental justice collide. Access to clean, safe, and affordable water offers a particularly stark example. Without water, even following the common sense admonition to frequently wash one’s hands becomes an insurmountable challenge.

Why Are Bike Equity Initiatives Needed and How Should Cities Incorporate Them?

By Zoe Bertol-Foell, Research and Publications Intern, ELI
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

If you have walked across downtown Manhattan recently, you may have been blinded by the new colorful green pavement marking protected bike lanes. NYC is one of many cities flaunting their new bike safety initiatives in political speeches, tourist brochures, and subway ads. Given the multiple economic, health, and environmental benefits of replacing car trips with bike trips, their pride is well-deserved. But in order for such initiatives to serve all New Yorkers, they must go a step further.

How Environmental Racism Translates to COVID-19 Vulnerability in D.C.

By Avital Li, Research Associate
Monday, May 4, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing to light many intersectional divides in the United States that mainstream society can no longer ignore. Lovinia Reynold’s blog last week looked at how environmental racism is linked to higher COVID-19 mortality rates among Black communities.

COVID-19 and Black Communities

By Lovinia Reynolds , Policy Analyst and Environmental Justice Coordinator
Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Black people are bearing the brunt of COVID-19’s impact. Cities such as the District of Columbia, Milwaukee, and St. Louis and states such as Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, and Mississippi have released data demonstrating that Black people make up a disproportionate number of COVID-19-related deaths. These deaths are due in no small part to centuries of structural inequality that limit access to what public health experts call the social determinants of health.

Clear Corona Skies: Air Quality in the United States During a Global Pandemic

By Caitlin F. McCarthy, Director, Education, Associates and Corporate Partnerships
Monday, April 27, 2020

With the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day still on our minds, air quality is thriving throughout the United States’ most populous areas. It is a goal long fought for by leaders in environmental law and policy, but it has only been achieved with the cost of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

Public Nuisance Lawsuits May Mitigate Meat Industry’s Environmental Impact

By Micah Bradley, Vanderbilt Law School 3L, Member of Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review Class, and Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney; Director of the Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs
Wednesday, April 15, 2020

In “Animal Agriculture Liability for Climatic Nuisance: A Path Forward for Climate Change Litigation?,” Prof. Daniel E. Walters lays out a new path for climate litigation: environmental litigators should bring federal public nuisance suits to remedy environmental harms caused by animal agriculture.

Turning A Blind Eye to Drinking Water Risks

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Drinking water contamination in Flint, Michigan, has garnered nationwide attention, but it is neither isolated, nor a primarily urban problem. As Madeline Kane explains in the April issue of ELR—The Environmental Law Reporter, a hidden water crisis is straining thousands of smaller communities that share Flint’s risk factors—shrinking populations, social marginalization, and deficient funds.

Earth Day 1970: A Look Back at Student Activism and Freedom of the Press

1970s
By Stephen R. Dujack, Editor, The Environmental Forum®
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It is now half a century since the first Earth Day. Not only did I help run our school’s “teach in” in 1970, it is also 50 years since my entrance into environmental journalism. A first-person history may help to affirm the importance of the environmental protections that soon followed, as well as of a robust student press to push today’s issues.

All blog posts are the opinion of its author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of ELI the organization or its members.