11.368 | Fall 2019 | Undergraduate, Graduate

Environmental Justice Law and Policy


For full details of the reading assignments listed below, see the Bibliography page.

Class Sessions Readings
Part I: Introduction, Theories, and Histories of Environmental Justice
1. Several Founding Documents of Environmental Justice

  • Bullard, “Environmentalism and Social Justice,” pp. 1–20
  • Moore and Gauna, letter to Jay D. Hair
  • Delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, “The Principles of Environmental Justice”
  • Bassey et al., letter to George W. Bush
  • Bullard et al.,“Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty: 1987–2007,”  pp. x–14
2. Histories of the Environmental Justice Movement

  • Cole and Foster, “A History of the Environmental Justice Movement,” pp. 19–33
  • Pellow, Garbage Wars, pp. 1–99, 161–169
  • Pulido, Environmentalism and Economic Justice, pp. 1–56, 191
  • Suagee, “Turtle’s War Party” 

Other Resources

  • Taylor, “American Environmentalism”
  • Sze and London, “Environmental Justice at the Crossroads”
3. Theories of Environmental Justice

  • LaDuke, All Our Relations, pp. 1–6
  • Coates, Between the World and Me, pp. 149–152
  • Kuehn, “A Taxonomy of Environmental Justice”
  • Been, “What’s Fairness Got to Do with It?” pp. 1001–1009 (Introduction) and 1027–1068 (Part III)
  • Harvey, Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference, Chapter 8: pp. 176–204

Other Resources

  • Auyero and Swistun, Flammable, pp. 1–20, 140–160
  • Lazarus, “Pursuing ‘Environmental Justice’”
  • Pellow, “Environmental Inequality Formation”
4. Causation

  • Summers, “‘Dirty’ Industries”
  • Rabin, “Expulsive Zoning,” pp. 101–121
  • Mohai and Saha, “Which Came First, People or Pollution?”
  • Pulido, “A Critical Review of the Methodology of Environmental Racism Research”

Other Resources

  • Been and Gupta, “Coming to the Nuisance or Going to the Barrios?” pp. 3–32

Environmental Impact Assessment

  • National Environmental Policy Act
  • Council on Environmental Quality Regulations
  • Council on Environmental Quality, Environmental Justice Guidance, pp. 7–16
  • In the Matter of Louisiana Energy Services, L.P., Parts I.A and III.
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, pp. 21–23, 47–54

Site Cleanup and Enforcement

  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, § 9607
  • Freeland, “Environmental Justice and the Brownfields Revitalization Act of 2001”
Part II. Advancing Environmental Justice: Risk, Regulation, Knowledge Creation, Land Use, Litigation, and Mobilization
5. Policymaking: Risk Assessment, Cost-Benefit Analysis

  • Walker, “Everything Is a Human Being,” pp. 139–152
  • Pulido, “Flint, Environmental Racism, and Racial Capitalism” 

Risk and Assessment

  • Carnegie Commission, “Risk and the Environment,” pp. 76–78
  • Kuehn, “The Environmental Justice Implications of Quantitative Risk Assessment,” parts II (pp. 107–116) and III (116–129)

Cost-Benefit Analysis

  • Sunstein and Hahn, “A New Executive Order for Improving Federal Regulation?” pp. 1489–1516
  • Ackerman and Heinzerling, “Pricing the Priceless,” pp. 1553–1578

Other resources

  • National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, “Ensuring Risk Reduction in Communities with Multiple Stressors”
  • Tickner et al., “The Precautionary Principle in Action”
  • Livermore and Revesz, “Rethinking Health-Based Environmental Standards,” pp. 1185–1190 (Introduction) and 1200–1227 (Part II)
  • American Lung Association v. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Whitman v. American Trucking Associations, Inc.
  • Michigan et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency, pp. 1–17
6. Forms of Regulation: Standard-Setting, Markets, Disclosure Standard-Setting

  • Lazarus and Tai, “Integrating Environmental Justice into EPA Permitting Authority,” pp. 617–649

Market-Based Regulation

  • Johnson, “Economics v. Equity,” pp. 111–124, 143–149


  • Karkkainen, “Information as Environmental Regulation,” pp. 259–294

Other Resources

  • Driesen, “The Ends and Means of Pollution Control,” pp. 64–96
  • Overdevest and Mayer, “Harnessing the Power of Information Through Community Monitoring,” pp. 1495–1506 (Part II)
  • Memorandum from Gary S. Guzy
  • U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Environmental Justice”
  • Karkkainen, “Bottlenecks and Baselines”
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of General Counsel, “Plan EJ 2014”
  • Environmental Justice Leadership Forum, Comment Letter on Clean Power Plan
7. Scales of Action: Federal, State, and Local Policies to Advance Environmental Justice Federal Responses

  • Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, Exec. Order No. 12,898
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “EJ 2020 Action Agenda” [skim]

State Actions and Cooperative Federalism

  • Foster, “Environmental Justice in an Era of Devolved Collaboration,” pp. 472–494

Tribal Environmental Regulation

  • Ranco, “Models of Tribal Environmental Regulation” 

Community-Based Strategies

  • Loh and Sugerman-Brozan, “Environmental Justice Organizing for Environmental Health”

Other Resources

  • Targ, “The States’ Comprehensive Approach to Environmental Justice,” pp. 171–184
  • City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Racial Equity, “Resilient Boston: An Equitable and Connected City”
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, “Environmental Justice Policy”
  • Rechtschaffen, “Competing Visions: EPA and the States Battle for the Future of Environmental Enforcement” 
  • Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., pp. 1–29
  • H.R. 2486, Equity and Inclusion Enforcement Act
8. The Production of Environmental Knowledge, Litigation, Mobilization The Production of Environmental Knowledge

  • Corburn, Street Science, pp. 47–77
  • Arcaya et al., “Community Change and Resident Needs: Designing a Participatory Action Research Study in Metropolitan Boston” 


  • Bullard and Johnson, “Environmental Justice”

Other Resources

  • Haraway, “Situated Knowledges”
  • Appadurai, “The Right to Research” 
  • Corburn, Street Science, pp. 25–46
  • Fischer, Citizens, Experts, and the Environment, pp. ix–28
  • Sze, Noxious New York, pp. 143–211
  • Morello-Frosch et al., “Citizens, Science, and Data Judo,” pp. 371–392
  • Bryant and Hockman, “A Brief Comparison of the Civil Rights Movement and the Environmental Justice Movement,”  pp. 23–26
9. Land Use Planning and Environmental Justice

  • Arnold, “Planning Milagros,” pp. 3–10, 89–123
  • Been,  “Compensated Siting Proposals,” pp. 787–796
  • Cole, “Empowerment as the Key to Environmental Protection,” pp. 661–683
  • Calpotura, “Why the Law?”

Other Resources

  • Anguelovski, Neighborhood as Refuge, pp. 195–219
  • Dowdell v. City of Apopka, pp. 1181–1188


  • South Camden Citizens in Action v. N.J. Dept. of Env. Prot., pp. 452, 481–495
  • Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management Corporation
  • R.I.S.E. v. Kay
  • Draft Revised Guidance for Investigating Title VI Administrative Complaints Challenging Permits, pp. 39,667–39,684
  • Comments on Draft Revised Guidance for Investigating Title VI Administrative Complaints Challenging Permits
  • Complaint Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [skim]
  • Letter from Rafael DeLeon to Christopher Reardon (Angelita C. preliminary finding)
  • Agreement Between Cal. Dep’t of Pesticide Regulation and U.S. EPA (Angelita C. settlement).
Part III. Selected Contemporary Environmental Justice Issues
10. Environmental Gentrification, Food Justice, Prisons

  • Chavez, “Wrath of Grapes Boycott Speech”
  • Penniman, “Radical Farmers Use Fresh Food to Fight Racial Injustice and the New Jim Crow” 
  • Hilmers et al. “Neighborhood Disparities in Access to Healthy Foods and Their Effects on Environmental Justice”
  • Checker, “Wiped Out by the ‘Greenwave’”
  • Braz and Gilmore, “Joining Forces”

Other Resources

  • Anguelovski et al., “Assessing Green Gentrification in Historically Disenfranchised Neighborhoods”
11. Hazard Mitigation and Inequality

  • Pastor et al., “In the Wake of the Storm,” Chapter 1
  • Anguelovski et al., “Equity Impacts of Urban Land Use Planning for Climate Adaptation” 
  • Lee and Van Zandt, “Housing Tenure and Social Vulnerability to Disasters”
  • Hino et al., “Managed Retreat as a Response to Natural Hazard Risk”
  • Hersher and Benincasa, “How Federal Disaster Money Favors The Rich”

Other Resources

  • Cutter and Finch, “Temporal and Spatial Changes in Social Vulnerability to Natural Hazards”
12. Disaster Recovery and Inequality

  • Howell and Elliott,“Damages Done”
  • Gotham, “Limitations, Legacies, and Lessons”
  • Capps, “Why Are These Tiny Towns Getting So Much Hurricane Harvey Aid?”

Other Resources

  • Texas Low Income Housing Information Service v. Ben Carson and HUD
  • Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center et al. v. St. Bernard Parish et al.
13. Movement Building

  • Cole and Foster, “Processes of Struggle,” pp. 103–133
  • Buford, “Has the Moment for Environmental Justice Been Lost?”
  • 116th Congress, 1st Session, H. Res. 109
  • Lim, “How the Green New Deal Can Deliver Land Justice” 

Other resources:

  • Pellow, Resisting Global Toxics, pp. 73–95
  • Anthony, “The Environmental Justice Movement” pp. 91–98
  • Schlosberg, “Reconceiving Environmental Justice” 
14. Just Transition

  • International Climate Justice Network, “Bali Principles of Climate Justice” 
  • Sze and Yeampierre, “Just Transition and Just Green Enough,” pp. 61–73
  • Loh and Shear, “Solidarity Economy and Community Development” 
  • Boyce and Pastor, “Clearing the Air” 
  • Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,“Adoption of the Paris Agreement” 

Other Resources

  • Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments, pp. 1–25
  • Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, pp. 1–6, 18–32
  • Loh and Eng, eds., “Environmental Justice and the Green Economy”