The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Local Government Advisory Committee recently finalized its recommendations on how to implement the bipartisan infrastructure law’s investments to best advance climate and environmental justicegoals while taking into account the needs of communities.
The committee – which comprises dozens of representatives from 30 different states meant to share local-level perspectives with the EPA administrator – organized its recommendations across four categories: integrating equity and environmental justice, providing flexibility and assistance, promoting climate-resilient projects, and promoting innovation and efficiency of water resources.
A significant portion of thebipartisan infrastructure law’s $1.2 trillion is dedicated to programs under EPA’s purview. Of those, the lion’s share is earmarked for clean water projects, with other carve-outs for cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, decarbonizing school buses, and a pollution prevention program.
The Environmental Justice Movement (or EJ, as it’s referred to) addresses a statistical fact: people who live, work and play in America’s most polluted environments are commonly people of color and the poor.
Environmental justice advocates have shown that this is not by accident: these communities are routinely targeted to host facilities – like landfills, dirty industrial plants, or truck depots – that have vast negative environmental impacts.
Communities have battled against such environmental racism for decades.
A new website and interactive mapping tool released today by the Southern Environmental Law Center will allow citizens, activists and policymakers to look at how both current and proposed infrastructure will fare in a wetter future as sea-level rise and climate change reshape the Southeast coast.
The Changing Coastweb site conveniently concentrates an array of climate data into a single interface. The project’s goal is to show citizens and decision-makers how the coast is changing, and how proposed infrastructure projects like highways, neighborhoods, and government or industrial facilities will fare as the water keeps rising and floods get worse.
When it comes to reducing food waste, consumers most favor solutions that involve making food donations easier and establishing standards for food date labels.
That is one finding of a study — among the first to examine support and perceived effectiveness for popular food waste solutions — led by an agricultural economist in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
When it comes to exposures to environmental hazards, people of color and low-income groups tend to get the short end of the stick. They are more likely than other groups to live close to highways or power plants; to live in housing with lead, pest, or other problems; and to be exposed to hazardous chemicals in personal care products.
A new series of web resources titled Environmental Racism in Greater Boston, produced by experts at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, tells a multifaceted and accessible story, including interactive data visualizations, about disparities in environmental exposures from the regional level to the individual level.
Dr. Sherilyn Williams-Stroud is a structural geologist and a Research Scientist at the Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS) and started her own consulting company Confractus, Inc. She has previously worked in government at the United States Geological Survey and in the oil and gas industry. Her current research and interests are in carbon dioxide sequestration and induced seismicity.
Abstract: Can the U.S. Constitution encompass a right to a stable climate? Courts around the world are finding that their constitutions afford a right to a clean and healthy environment, including to a safe climate. In the United States, this claim is being tested in the case of Juliana v. U.S., brought by 21 children arguing that governmental actions and inaction have caused or contributed to an “environmental apocalypse” in violation of a fundamental constitutional right to a stable climate. In concluding that the Constitution can encompass a right to a stable climate, we make three principal arguments. First, the Constitution is relevant to the protection of people’s lives and liberties—a position that should be beyond cavil after more than 230 years of our constitutional experiment. Second, the Constitution’s protection is not abrogated simply because the threat to life and liberty comes from decades of governmental action contributing to climate change. The Constitution does not have a climate change, or even an environmental, exception. And third, the federal judiciary is the body that, in our constitutional system, is best suited to hold accountable government actors when they imperil constitutional rights. Five years after it was filed, the case was dismissed by the Ninth Circuit; as of this writing, plaintiffs are considering seeking review before the U.S. Supreme Court, and settlement with the Biden Administration.
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