Environmental Justice

NOTE: This course is available as an In-Person Section for in-person students or an Online Section designed for LLM Distance Students. Each section has its own course description and each section has a different professor. See the note below about eligibility for the Online Section for JDs, MSLs, and residential LLMs. 

Environmental Justice - Professor Lisa Benjamin

  • Course Number: LAW-342   In-Person Section
  • Course Type: Foundational
  • Credits: 3
  • Enrollment Limit: Determined by the Registrar
  • Description: The Environmental Justice movement demands fair treatment in the context of environmental protection for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation, economic status, national origin and education level. It looks at environmental issues through the lens of discrimination and assesses how that discrimination shapes both vulnerability and resilience. This course examines the Environmental Justice movement and the disproportionate impacts borne by vulnerable constituents in the domestic and international context of government regulation, corporate activity, climate and energy concerns, and environmental degradation. Readings include selected cases, law review articles, case studies, executive orders, legislation, and UN declarations.

    In addition to the course texts and supplemental readings, we will also view select documentaries and hear from guest speakers from community-based organizations working to address racial and socioeconomic disparities.
  • Prerequisite: none
  • Evaluation Method: Paper; class participation; in-class presentations
  • Capstone: with Professor permission in advance
  • WIE: yes


Environmental Justice - Professor Catherine O’Neill

  • Course Number: LAW-342   Online LLM & Online MSL Section
  • Course Type: Foundational  
  • Credits: 3
  • Enrollment Limit: Determined by the Registrar
  • Description: This section will be offered online. This class will explore the causes of and solutions to environmental racism and injustice. It will consider disparities faced by communities of color, indigenous peoples, and low-income groups in access to and control over the environmental requisites for health and well-being. The class will examine various legal tools’ potential to help bring about environmental justice, highlighting the appropriateness of different tools for different contexts. Students will be expected to view the class videos and participate in online discussion in the time frames allotted.
  • Prerequisite: none
  • Evaluation Method: The class will be evaluated based on class participation and writing assignments.
  • Capstone: no
  • WIE: no


Notes for LC JDs, MSLs, and residential LLMs:

Lewis & Clark JDs, MSLs, and residential LLMs are permitted to take some courses online within the limits of LC’s distance learning policy. Those students should consult the distance learning policy prior to signing up for distance learning courses.

Students who are on campus are asked to take the in-person version of the class when both an in-person and online version of the same class are offered in the same semester, but may petition the Associate Dean of Students, Libby Davis, to take the online version if they have a compelling reason for doing so:  eadavis@lclark.edu

JD students at other law schools may be able to take online courses if space permits and permitted by their home school. Contact Associate Dean of the Environmental Law Program, Janice Weis, at jweis@lclark.edu