Every day with regard to the environment, decisions are made and actions are taken that disproportionately impact people of color, indigenous peoples, and the poor. Can we ever achieve environmental justice through the law?
This course examines whether and how our legal system can address environmental racism and other forms of environmental injustice. After covering the history of the environmental justice movement as both a social and legal phenomenon, we will explore and assess the legal frameworks available to address environmental injustice. With regard to legal frameworks, we will spend most of our time on tort, civil rights, environmental-administrative, and land use & zoning. The environmental administrative framework will include pollution control laws (e.g. Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act), utility rate-setting, management of natural resources & public lands, and climate change. Apart from traditional legal materials, we will also read social science & public health scholarship, newspaper articles, history, philosophy, and literature.