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Law Courses Catalog

Environmental Justice Law and Theory

This course examines the Environmental Justice movement and the disproportionate impacts borne by communities of color and low-income communities through the lens of Community, Law and Policy. Readings include select case law, law review excerpts, case studies and media, with a focus on the root causes of environmental injustice and federal, state and local policy initiatives and laws that both address and perpetuate these issues. We will examine applicable environmental and civil rights legislation for heir effectiveness in ameliorating disparate environmental health risks, as well as emerging policies and initiatives being advanced to fill the gaps in protection. Particular attention will be given to local environmental justice issues and the specific problems facing community residents, activists and advocates working to address these concerns.

In addition to the course text and supplemental readings, we will also view select documentaries and hear from guest speakers from community-based organizations or local government initiatives working to address racial and socioeconomic disparities. The class will be graded principally on the basis of an unscheduled (closed) final exam, covering the basic principles of environmental justice and hypothetical applications to the real world.