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1995 Special Issue

The Struggle for Environmental Justice

Legal Services Advocates Tackle Environmental Poverty Law

By Ralph Santiago Abascal & Luke W. Cole

The Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment offers legal services programs working on environmental justice issues technical and legal assistance, strategic advice, and networking with legal services offices nationwide.

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Legal Services, Public Participation, and Environmental Justice

By Luke W. Cole & California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation's Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment

This article describes two models of environmental advocacy—the participatory model and the power model—and how community groups and their advocates may use them to combat environmental injustices.

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Using the National Environmental Policy Act to Address Environmental Justice Issues

By Melany Earnhardt

The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to take into account the environmental effects of their actions. This article discusses the use of the Act to address environmental justice concerns, outlines when it may apply, and guides advocates on general principles, issues, and additional resources to address a federal activity that threatens a community's environment.

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Burning Injustice

An Overview of Federal Incinerator Policy in the United States

By Deeohn Ferris

Increasingly, scientific evidence is reinforcing strong suspicions among citizens living near waste burners of apparent links between adverse health symptoms, disease, and environmental degradation. This article describes the environmental and health threats posed by incinerators and suggests changes that would rectify environmental injustices in incinerator siting and operation.

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How Legal Services Clients Become Neighborhood Activists

Three Tales of Texas Environmental Justice

By Enrique Valdivia

The true heroes of environmental justice work are the clients themselves. This article describes how clients in three deferent Texas communities, with the assistance of Texas Rural Legal Aid, fought high-voltage power lines, a waste-disposal site for uranium mine tailings, and a county's failure to provide water and sewer service.

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Increasing Water and Sewer Rates

A New Crisis for the Poor

By Helen Gonzales

This article discusses the compliance costs of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act and the impact of these costs on poor people.

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Farmworkers and Pesticides

The Struggle for Protections

By Beatrice Bobotek

This article describes the federal framework that exists to protect farm-workers from exposure to dangerous chemicals and presents three examples demonstrating the complications arising from federal efforts to enforce protection.

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Local and Federal Statutory and Regulatory Bases for Preventing Lead Poisoning

By Lucy Billings

This article reviews state and federal bases for claims to prevent lead poisoning, including the federal Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act, regulations implementing the Act, and Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment requirements under the Medicaid program.

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Demystifying Environmental Legal Services

By Keith Harley

This article provides step-by-step guidance on how to evaluate the factual basis of an environmental case, develop legal theories, and ensure that meritorious causes of action are pursued.

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Community-Based Administrative Advocacy Under Civil Rights Law

A Potential Environmental Justice Tool for Legal Services Advocates

By Luke W. Cole

Administrative complaints to the Environmental Protection Agency under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are a simple and potentially effective tool in certain environmental justice disputes. This article briefly reviews the nuts and bolts of Title VI administrative advocacy and presents some of the lessons learned from using this tool, including its benefits and drawbacks.

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Tools for Combating Environmental Injustice in the 'Hood

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968

By Ralph Santiago Abascal

Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which was specifically designed to promote "fair housing" throughout the United States, can be read to prohibit discriminatory siting of locally undesirable land uses that deny people of color access to environmentally safe housing and worsen the quality of neighborhoods suffering from the impact of racial discrimination.

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