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environmental justice

VOICES: Ben Chavis on the environmental justice movement's past and future

September 28, 2022 - The famed civil rights leader who coined the phrase "environmental racism" in a North Carolina jail recently delivered the Robert R. Wilson Distinguished Lecture at Duke University Chapel in Durham. Titled "Environmental Justice: Past, Present, and Future" and shared here, his talk commemorated the 40th anniversary of protests over toxic waste dumping in a rural Black community that sparked the environmental justice movement.

NEPA restoration buoys Gulf Coast enviros' fight with Big Gas

May 13, 2022 - With almost 20 new natural gas projects slated to open this year alone in Louisiana and Texas, environmental health and justice activists in the region say the Biden administration's recent restoration of transparency provisions in the National Environmental Policy Act, rolled back by its predecessor, will provide a critical shield for them in their battle with the industry.  

TESTIMONY: Environmental Justice for All Act protects vulnerable communities

February 17, 2022 - The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing this week on the Environmental Justice for All Act, which would strengthen protections for vulnerable communities from environmental health threats. We share the official testimony of Amy Laura Cahn, director of the Environmental Justice Clinic at the Vermont Law School, who discussed waste dumping in Alabama and pipeline construction in Virginia in making a case for the bill's transformative power.

INSTITUTE INDEX: How Entergy thwarted energy resilience in Louisiana

September 10, 2021 - Hurricane Ida's devastation of Louisiana's electric grid and the deadly power outages that resulted show the risk that highly centralized generation systems present in an era of increasingly destructive climate change-driven weather events. Yet Entergy — a Fortune 500 company that's the main power provider for the hard-hit southeastern part of the state, including New Orleans — has fought plans to move toward cleaner community-based generation. Will Ida mark a turning point?

VOICES: Remembering Billie Lee Rogers, who fought environmental racism in rural North Carolina

July 23, 2021 - In 1982, a rural, Black North Carolina community suffered damages from a timber company's careless aerial application of toxic pesticides. The fight that ensued with state authorities led to local resident Billie Lee Rogers becoming a lifelong advocate for pesticide safety and environmental justice. Rogers passed away in June, and we share pesticide safety advocate Allen Spalt's remarks about her life and work delivered at her memorial service.

INSTITUTE INDEX: The disaster-stricken South looks to Biden for climate justice

January 29, 2021 - Tied for the hottest year on record globally, 2020 also brought the most $1 billion disasters ever in the U.S., and they took a disproportionate toll on the South's most vulnerable communities. With most states in the region controlled by a party whose platform downplays climate change, environmental advocates are looking to the new president for help. Here's what the Biden administration has done so far.

THE STAKES 2020: Catherine Coleman Flowers on the environmental justice movement and elections

October 23, 2020 - Across the rural South's Black Belt, the lack of adequate sewage and water infrastructure has created serious public health problems. We spoke with Catherine Coleman Flowers, a longtime environmental justice activist in rural Alabama and the recent recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, about her work to draw attention to the region's intersecting crises and how grassroots activism can impact federal policy.