Models for Change: Efforts by Four States to Address Environmental Justice

June 2002 - This report is the Panel’s second report on environmental justice and part of its ongoing research efforts. The report is designed to assist the public, state and local agencies, and others interested in environmental justice by identifying state initiatives that can serve as models of best practices.

The Academy hopes that the state practices analyzed here will serve as models to build effective environmental justice programs at state and local levels. Coupled with the Academy’s prior study on how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can address environmental justice concerns through permitting, this report can provide a better understanding of how policies, programs, and practices related to environmental justice can be strengthened to produce results that address these concerns appropriately.

Recommendations

States should:

  1. Strengthen their leadership and accountability to address environmental justice concerns
  2. Integrate environmental justice into their core environmental and public health programs
  3. Elevate the importance of environmental justice issues when setting their priorities
  4. Expand their public involvement in the permitting process and other environmental decisions
  5. Maximize the use of other opportunities and legal authorities to address environmental justice