Date22 March 2023
AuthorBenjamin, Lisa

I am so pleased to be writing the introduction to the first ever Issue of Environmental Law dedicated to environmental justice. I want to acknowledge the hard work and foresight of the editors in putting this Issue together, and I commend their focus on environmental justice. Their approach is in line with shifting political winds on environmental justice. The Biden Administration has embedded environmental justice in national policy through various Executive Orders, grants, agency appointments and legislation, including the recent Inflation Reduction Act.

Most recently, and nearly three decades after the issuance of Executive Order 12898 of February 11, 1994 (Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations), the Biden Administration issued another Executive Order on Environmental Justice on 21 April 2023. This new Executive Order highlights persistent issues of injustice which have led to entrenched disparities, but also takes a holistic approach to environmental justice. It binds issues of environmental injustice to civil rights law, and emphasizes that more enforcement in both these areas is necessary. It connects environmental justice outcomes to a healthy environment, as well as to land law policies such as redlining, exclusionary zoning, and other discriminatory land use decisions or patterns. It also updates the definition of environmental justice to "the just treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of income, race, color, national origin, Tribal affiliation, or disability, in agency decision-making and other Federal activities that affect human health and the environment ...."

As evidenced by this most recent Executive Order, the field of environmental justice is broad, systemic, and complex. The roots of injustice are deep and...

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