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Time for a New Age of Enlightenment for U.S. Environmental Law and Policy: Where Do We Go From Here?

April 2019

Citation: ELR 10362

Author: Barry E. Hill

The issue of environmental injustice has again come into sharp focus in the wake of the predominantly African-American community in Flint, Michigan, being exposed to lead-contaminated drinking water. To secure environmental justice for all individuals and communities, living in a clean, safe, and healthy environment in America should be considered a human right enforced by the adoption of an environmental rights amendment in the bill of rights sections of every state constitution and the federal Constitution. Such constitutional protections would significantly help individuals and communities to defend their human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, clean air, clean land, and a stable climate—and would provide new legal mechanisms for the protection of those rights.

Barry E. Hill is a Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute and Adjunct Professor at Vermont Law School. He served as Director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice from 1998-2007, and is the author of Environmental Justice: Legal Theory and Practice (4th ed. 2018).

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