Does environmental degradation, and its concomitant health effects, impact all communities equally? If not, what is the role of the law and the lawyer in challenging this inequality? The environmental justice movement has attempted to address environmental and public health concerns through legal and non-legal approaches. This course will analyze the success of this movement and its inherent limitations. Focusing on the United States, but periodically drawing from environmental-justice organizing in India, sub-Saharan Africa, and Central America, the course will explore theories to challenge environmental injustice. In so doing, we will necessarily reach broader issues of power dynamics in the law and the role of public and egalitarian participation in legal decisionmaking.
This course will require us to think creatively about the use of existing legal doctrine to protect public health and to distribute the environment�s resources in an equitable manner. It will also force us to consider, however, the limitations of the law and lawyering, and the role of organizing and other non-legal approaches. Accordingly, the reading for this course will be drawn from legal and non-legal sources, including federal and state case law, articles from legal and political-science journals, and books by Manning Marable, Rigoberta Mench� Tum, Walter Rodney, and Arundhati Roy.