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Environmental Justice Legislation Update

By Anthony B. Cavender

This order directed federal agencies to identify and address, as appropriate, the disproportionately high and adverse human health and environment effects of its many programs, policies and procedures on minority populations and low carb populations. The primary legal basis for this particular purchase was Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in particular, Sections 601 and 602, which prohibit discrimination in programs and activities receiving federal financial help and assistance. Through the Years, the Supreme Court has examined the scope and significance of Title VI. In Alexander v. Sandoval, decided in 2001, the Court reasoned that while personal parties could sue to enforce Section 601 or its implementing regulations, as written, Section 601 simply prohibits intentional discrimination. Noting that disproportionate effect isn’t the only touchstone of all invidious racial discrimination. Moreover, the Court also ruled in Sandoval that private parties cannot sue to enforce regulations implementing Section 602. Perhaps as a acknowledgement of these openings, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established an administrative procedure to process environmental justice complaints at 40 CFR Part 7. Without strengthening the statutory foundation of environmental justice, the program may continue to be the subject of countless symposiums and seminars. Nevertheless, this may change shortly.
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