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The United States Environmental Protection Act

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The United States Environmental Protection Act (hereinafter referred to as EPA) defines environmental justice as ‘’the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, colour, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies’’ (Bullard 2005, 4). Throughout the world, poor people and people of colour, who have the least political power and who are the most marginalized, are selectively victimized by environmental crises (Bullard 2005, 6). Numerous environmental groups have been formed over time e.g. the Green Belt Movement to combat this injustice. On the other hand, environmentalism is more concerned with protecting the…show more content…
However, the EPA was never designed to address environmental policies that result in unfair, unjust and inequitable outcomes. Officials of the EPA are not likely to ask questions that go to the heart of environmental justice such as ‘’what groups are most affected by a specific environmental problem’’ or ‘’why are they affected’’ or ‘’how could the problem have been prevented’’? (Bullard 2005, 29).
The environmental justice framework was adopted on September 27th, 1991 following the First National People of Colour Environmental Leadership Summit (Bullard 2005, 21). This seventeen-principle framework was extremely important at the time it was drawn up because it served as a catalyst for bringing environmental protection issues to the core. The framework attempts to turn the dominant environmental protection paradigm on its head by seeking to prevent environmental threats before they occur. (Bullard 2005, 5). It incorporates the aims of other social movements that seek to eliminate harmful practices in houses, health care, poverty and redlining especially for those living in an urban ghetto or barrio (Bullard 2005, 25). Bullard states that the framework attempts to uncover the underlying assumptions that may contribute to and produce unequal protection (Bullard 2005, 25). One of its major principles is that all individuals have a right to be protected from environmental degradation and some of the precedents for
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