Jump to Navigation
Jump to Content

A Survey of Federal Agency Response to President Clinton's Executive Order No. 12898 on Environmental Justice

October 2001

Citation: ELR 11133

Author: Denis Binder et al.

In an effort to address the well-documented and serious problem of environmental justice in the United States, President William J. Clinton issued Executive Order (EO) No. 128981 on February 11, 1994. The EO represented the culmination of a century of rapid changes in society's attitudes toward the placement of hazardous facilities in poor, disadvantaged, and minority communities, as well as the denial of services to these communities. This survey examines the impact of the EO on federal agencies.2

Environmental justice is not a problem unique to the late 20th century. Majoritarian societies have historically discriminated against minority groups.3 For example, the post-World War II exodus to the suburbs in the United States partially reflected an effort by affluent members of society to insulate themselves from the more unpleasant realities of modern-day living. Through zoning and other land use planning tools, economically deprived persons and sundry undesirable facilities were excluded from the affluent suburbs. Zoning was often an effective tool of exclusion.

Denis Binder is a Professor of Law at Chapman University. Colin Crawford is an Associate Professor of Law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Eileen Gauna is a Professor of Law at Southwestern University. M. Casey Jarman is an Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental Law Program at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii. Alice Kaswan is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco. Bradford Mank is the James B. Helmer Jr. Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati. Catherine A. O'Neill is an Associate Professor of Law at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona. Clifford Rechtschaffen is a Professor of Law at Golden Gate University. Robert R.M. Verchick is the Marvin Rich Scholar and a Professor of Law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Each of the authors reviewed the response of a specific federal agency to Executive Order No. 12898, relying extensively, but not solely, upon the responses to a prepared survey. Professor Binder then summarized and edited the individual responses into this cohesive, comprehensive study with the substantial assistance of the other authors. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance provided by the representatives of the individual agencies in preparing and responding, often at great length, to our inquiries. We further thank Prof. Marc Poirier of Seton Hall Law School for his assistance. The authors, other than Professor Binder, would like to extend their special gratitude to Professor Binder for his skill, hard work, patience, and diplomacy in working with a diverse group of academics on this collaborative project.

You must be a News & Analysis subscriber to download the full article.

You are not logged in. To access this content: