American Bar Association


Who We Are

The committee works to achieve the goal of environmental justice through advocacy and education, and by linking resources to needs. The committee also engages in initiatives directed toward educating law students, providing training to attorneys, and promoting the availability of quality legal services to those with environmental justice issues.

Message From The Chair

This year, under the theme of "Redefining Environmental Justice in the 21st Century," the ABA Environmental Justice Committee aims to create programs and publications that address the concerns of legal remedies as well as disproportionate social and environmental impacts of the law on communities of color. These topics bring in a wealth of legal, social, moral, remedial, preemptive, and advocacy issues that actually do redefine and improve justice for vulnerable populations. By the middle part of the 21st century, everyone will be part of that population.

The Committee will seek to address, among other issues:

  • How can we use Section 1983 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to obtain environmental justice for communities of color;
  • Urging the EPA to timely process environmental justice discrimination complaints, especially because Title VI disparate impact discrimination is only enforceable administratively and not through a private right of action;
  • Dealing with Middlesex County Sewage Authority v. National Sea Clammers Ass’n, 453 U.S. 1 (1981) and Alexander v. Sandoval, 532 U.S. 275 (2001);
  • Addressing environmental justice issues specific to indigenous populations;
  • Studying blight, urban renewal, and the environmental justice implications of legacy industrial toxicity and failing infrastructure; and
  • Encouraging meaningful corporate social responsibility practices that consider the implications of environmental justice.

Recent Environmental Justice Cases and News

DAPL Scoping for EIS: Submit a Comment

On January 18th, the Department of the Army published the Notice of Intent to require an Environmental Impact Statement in the Federal Register. The EIS must consider tribal treaty rights, natural resources, cultural and sacred places, socio-economical concerns, environmental justice, and the health and wellbeing of those downstream. The Department of the Army's Civil Works division is accepting public comment until February 20th, 2017. For more information, click here

Unearthing Clean Energy | TEDxOcala | Nadia Ahmad

20-year-old Baltimore woman wins international award for taking out giant trash incinerator

Destiny Watford, who helped rally the Curtis Bay community in Baltimore against the construction of a large trash incinerator, was announced as a 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize winner for community leadership. Baltimore has more deaths caused by air pollution than any other city in the U.S. Watford's four-year campaign helped to halt the incinerator's construction indefinitely.

Special Video Presentation: The Trump effect on energy and environment law, manufacturing

In partnership with E&E News, the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources presented a discussion of what a Trump administration might mean for the energy and environment legal landscape.

The U.S. District Court in Oregon rules Constitutional climate case brought by 21 youths can go to trial

Twenty-one plaintiffs, ranging in age from 9 to 20, are suing the federal government to demand increased efforts on climate change. The federal court rejected the government's motion to dismiss the case. Click here for more information on details of the proceedings, the plaintiffs, and court orders and major pleadings.

EPA commits to enforcing environmental justice in EJ2020 Action Agenda

The EPA announced its commitment to protecting communities of color from disproportionate exposure to environmental pollutants. This is the agency's second national initiative since the Executive Order 12898 targeting civil rights in enforcement and decision-making process.

Join Us



Ahmad, Nadia


Badenoch, Scott

Committee Roster  

Committee Work Plan

Environmental Justice Resources

Sites of Interest

Click here to find a list of helpful EJ links and resources.

Programs, Meetings and Events

Committee Events

BREAKING GROUND AT STANDING ROCK: The Dakota Access Pipeline and Environmental Justice

April 13, 2017
As the DAPL battle continues, this teleconference will address the systemic problems in the environmental and cultural resources review processes, particularly as applied to Native American Nations. It will further address the precedent being set through the legal and political landscape for Native American environmental conflicts and the challenges that lie ahead.


April 13, 2017
@ Howard University School of Law: Learn more about initiatives and strategies for Environmental Justice and gain insight into environmental justice career opportunities.
Section Events

    Combating Bias and Increasing Inclusion in the Legal Profession


    The event will be held on 03/28/2017. The format is Web. The event sponsor(s) are Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,Commission on Homelessness and Poverty,Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs,Commission on Law and Aging,Commission on Disability Rights,Center for Professional Development,Criminal Justice Section,Commission on Women In the Profession,Section of Dispute Resolution,Law Practice Division,Section of Family Law,Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division,Center for Human Rights,Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice,Section of Legal Edu. The event has 1.50 CLE Credits .

    Hot Topics in Free Speech and Free Press: New Controversies on the Slippery Slope

    American Bar Association

    Sponsored by the ABA Civil Rights and Social Justice, First Amendment Rights Committee Co-sponsored by the ABA Section of Criminal Justice, the Center for Human Rights, the Law Student Division, and the Young Lawyers Division Hot Topics in Free Speech and Free Press: New Controversies ...

    BREAKING GROUND AT STANDING ROCK: The Dakota Access Pipeline and Environmental Justice


    This Teleconference is Free Sponsored by the ABA Civil Rights and Social Justice, Environmental Justice Committee and Native American Concerns Committee Co-sponsored by the ABA Section of Criminal Justice, the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, the Section of State and Local ...

Modified by Emily Bergeron on March 21, 2017

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