Gerald Torres


To date, however, there has been relatively little academic discussion about how EPA and other federal agencies can achieve environmental justice. In addition, most legal academic literature has focused either on simply identifying the legal issues associated with race and environmental law or on developing a litigation strategy for remedying “environmental racism.” None of the legal academic literature has focused on the benefits of using an administrative framework to define or develop sustainable solutions to the distributional inequities of environmental laws. The purpose of this Article is to explain the benefits of pursuing an administrative model for change. Unlike other legal academic pieces, this Article does not focus exclusively on the presence of distributional inequities or on private litigants’ judicial remedies for distributional inequities. Rather, it accepts that distributional inequities are present and it offers a broader, holistic, front-end approach to the administration of environmental laws with the goal of creating a framework which federal agencies can use to both achieve and maintain environmental justice. This Article is divided into three parts. First, it briefly discusses the history of the environmental justice movement and of historical political responses to distributional issues associated with the environment and human health. The second part of the Article describes the problems with relying exclusively on litigation as a mechanism for achieving environmental justice. Finally, this Article presents the theoretical basis for pursuing administrative solutions to the inequitable distribution of environmental hazards.