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Leveraging Supplemental Environmental Projects: Toward an Integrated Strategy for Empowering Environmental Justice Communities

June 2017

Citation: 47 ELR 10511

Issue: 6

Author: Patrice L. Simms

Environmental justice communities are especially disadvantaged when it comes to direct community intervention in matters critical to their well-being. Opportunities may exist, however, to institutionalize resources for those communities’ benefit. In particular, environmental enforcement actions could prove a reliable and effective conduit to access resources and obtain environmental and public health benefits, tailored to communities’ self-identified needs. This Article focuses on the supplemental environmental project (SEP) as a mechanism to accomplish this, and proposes SEP Community Empowerment Partnerships (SCEPs). This deliberate strategy—involving government entities, NGOs, academic institutions, funders, and private firms—could help more effectively fold communities into settlement decisions, and allow them to leverage SEPs as an additional tool to advance the restorative goals of environmental justice.

Patrice Lumumba Simms is an Associate Professor of Law at Howard University School of Law.

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