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Cornell Library at Vermont Law & Graduate School

Environmental Law, International Env't Law, and EJ Research Guide: Environmental Justice

Use this guide to access the best resources available for environmental law research.

Getting Started

According the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:     (For more details visit the EPA Environmental Justice  web page)

Environmental justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

Fair treatment means no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies.

Meaningful involvement means:

  • People have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health;
  • The public's contribution can influence the regulatory agency's decision;
  • Community concerns will be considered in the decision making process; and
  • Decision makers will seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.


Other sections of this Environmental Law LibGuide will also be helpful when searching for environmental justice resources, since resources with an environmental  justice focus will always be found in general environmental law sources.  The resources listed below will  be especially helpful. And don't forget the extensive  collection of environmental  justice books you can locate through a JULIEN Catalog Search

WebSites/ELRS for Environmental Justice Research

VLGS's Environmental Law Research Sources (ELRS), a collection of free environmental legal research resources, links to selected web sites for use in environmental law research. Two categories are especially relevant:: Environmental Justice and Environmental Health

One particular resource of note is ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE STATE BY STATE, a law library for community advocates, attorneys, scholars, and policymakers. 

Databases for Environmental Justice Research

The entire list of  Environmental Databases is recommended as a starting point for articles, research reports, etc.

Using key terms such as environmental justice/injustice, environmental racism, environmental inequality, environmental discrimination, civil rights, etc. will be useful, as well as more specific terms. Some of these terms may include and be used in combination with other terms: toxic waste, superfund, water pollution, air pollution, brownfields,  vulnerable communities, minority communities, etc. 

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