It has been 25 years since Executive Order 12898 was signed by President Clinton. This EO requires federal agencies to consider how environmental policy decisions might negatively impact low-income and minority communities disproportionately. Despite efforts to pass more stringent policies by the U.S. Congress, this is still the most prominent attempt to address environmental inequalities at the federal level. Without federal guidance states are faced with making their own policies to achieve environmental justice and have done so to varying degrees, largely focusing on the low-hanging fruit of increasing public participation. Nonetheless, empirical work shows that environmental justice policies across the U.S. are not having the desired mitigating impact on environmental disparities. This chapter reviews the goals of environmental justice policy, as well as evaluating the obstacles in the way of successfully achieving these goals at the state and federal levels.
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