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

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

Section Events

    What do Abortion Rights, Voting Rights, Affirmative Action, and Gay Marriage Have in Common?


    Join us on January 24, 2017 as a panel of constitutional law experts explore the common threads in these seemingly unconnected areas of law. Reflecting on the 2015 and 2016 U.S. Supreme Court terms, panelists will discuss the groundbreaking decisions in Whole Womans Health v. Hellerstedt , which reaffirmed ...

    Police Civil Rights Litigation: From Ferguson to Dallas and Beyond


    The event will be held on 01/24/2017. The format is Web. The event sponsor(s) are Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities,Center for Professional Development,Criminal Justice Section,Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice,Judicial Division,Section of State and Local Government Law. The event has 1.00 CLE Credits .

    How the ADA Applies to Performance, Conduct, and Attendance Standards: What You Need to Know


    The event will be held on 01/25/2017. The format is Web. The event sponsor(s) are Commission on Law and Aging,Center for Professional Development,Commission On Disability Rights,Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division,Health Law Section,Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice,Section of Labor and Employment Law,Division for Public Services. The event has 1.50 CLE Credits .

Modified by Emily Bergeron on December 15, 2016

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