Tierney Blog

Taking the Initiative on Environmental Justice

Findings show that people in poverty and people of color are much more likely to be exposed to harmful pollution. Due to budget cuts at the EPA, some have wondered if we lost the moment for environmental justice. But AGs in at least two states have made environmental justice a priority.

In late November, the NJ AG announced that it was making environmental justice a priority, and it filed eight lawsuits targeting environmentally hazardous sites in minority and lower-income communities across the state. The NJ AG also announced the creation of an environmental justice unit.

Earlier this year, the CA OAG announced that it was creating a bureau of environmental justice. It subsequently intervened in a lawsuit dealing with the building of an industrial park in a community already suffering from some of the highest pollution in California.

For more reading on this subject, take a look at our earlier post on state-level actions to protect the environment. Also, Columbia’s Sabin Center maintains a database compiling environmental actions undertaken by state attorneys general.