Tuesday, March 1, 2011
From Susan Ruthberg at Golden Gate Law:
Today, in Potrero Hill, the last fossil fuel power plant in the City of San Francisco will close after a decade of legal efforts by community groups, the City of San Francisco and Golden Gate University School of Law’s Environmental Law & Justice Clinic (ELJC). On December 21, 2010, local and state figures gathered to announce the closure. Late last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) made official the decision for today’s closure. For San Francisco residents in Bayview Hunters Point, Dogpatch and in the Potrero neighborhood where the plant is located, this means a future free of noxious air pollution.
ELJC Director Professor Helen Kang describes the significance of the final closure this way, “This is an environmental victory, but an equally important social justice coup, as these polluting plants were inevitably located in the low-income and working class neighborhoods of San Francisco, affecting a high percentage of non-white residents.”
Golden Gate Law’s ELJC and community groups have worked for decades on a regional level to reduce dependence on fossil-fuel based energy generation. Along the way, the Clinic filed a lawsuit against the Potrero power plant owner Mirant (now GenOn) to enforce the Clean Air Act, and law students testified before hearings held before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
ELJC was also involved in efforts that shut down the plant in Bayview Hunters Point in 2006. Eliminating fossil fuel plants in San Francisco required community groups (with ELJC performing legal work) to exhaust every possible avenue. Community groups organized and put on demonstrations, and legal advocates, including the Clinic and the City Attorney’s Office, monitored the power plants’ compliance with environmental laws and advocated for eliminating the use of bay waters as cooling sources for the plant—a practice that environmentalists say endangered aquatic life in the Bay.
Golden Gate Law Professor Alan Ramo, who led ELJC efforts in the early years, reflects on the decade-long, collaborative effort that made this monumental day possible. “I am grateful to ELJC’s clients such as the Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates and Communities for a Better Environment for giving our Clinic the opportunity to support their tireless and heroic efforts. Likewise, we are deeply thankful for the consistent support of The City Attorney's office, and in particular Theresa Mueller, Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and (former) Supervisor Aaron Peskin.”
While today’s closure represents a tremendous effort and victory for environmental justice, it is one component of multi-faceted, global effort aimed at increasing renewable energy sources. At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2010, scientists and environmental leaders agreed upon the need to address climate change globally. More stringent actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in particular by industrialized nations (and in states like California), cannot be postponed much longer. Still, today’s plant closure is a powerful symbol of community solidarity. Resident and community leader Karen Pierce of Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates describes the meaning of today’s closure this way: “This final closure demonstrates that communities working together along with their government can successfully eliminate fossil fuel and other pollutants that affect their neighborhoods and families.”
You can also read Helen Kang's blog post about the victory here.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I just returned from a stimulating one-day conference at American University's Washington College of Law called Tribes, Land, and the Environment. Organized by Ezra Rosser and Sarah Krakoff, it was a great mix of speakers on Indian law generally and environmental issues affecting/involving tribes significantly. Land use gets even more complicated when we add tribes to the mix and need to address the special issues of working with sovereign entities and federal law. I presented some of the initial findings of a larger study I am undertaking on how tribes use conservation easements. Specifically, I was examining instances where tribes hold conservation easements over land off-reservation. Much like other governments [as I have written about here], tribes use conservation easements to protect areas and ecological amenities outside their jurisdictions. I have been particularly intrigued by (1) whether tribes need to adhere to state law when entering into such agreements and (2) considering how the use of conservation easements interacts with tribes' views of property and the natural world. Intriguing stuff. If you see any examples of tribal holders in your necks of the woods, please let me know!
Many of the presentations at the conference, will appear in an edited volume of the same name.
- Jessica Owley
February 27, 2011 in Books, Conferences, Conservation Easements, Environmental Justice, Environmental Law, Federal Government, Local Government, Property, Property Rights, Property Theory, Race, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Thursday, February 24, 2011
The last installment in the Cityscape trilogy is Peter Meyer's Brownfields, Risk-Based Corrective Action, and Local Communities. Here's the abstract:
This article addresses the problems facing communities that suffer both environmental risks from past contamination and depressed economic activity. In such settings, redevelopment of contaminated sites and the associated economic development may require compromised standards for environmental mitigation. This potential conflict is often resolved through risk-based corrective action on sites cleaned only for their prospective use. But partial cleanups can be shown to face inevitable failure at some future date. Thus, in such an approach, communities face risks that they need to understand and should be capable of accepting or rejecting. The article considers these risks and assesses four alternative land use control strategies for assuring community participation in making decisions about both the cleanup process today and the response to risks of failure in the future.
February 24, 2011 in Community Design, Community Economic Development, Development, Economic Development, Environmental Justice, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, HUD, Industrial Regulation, Nuisance, Redevelopment, Scholarship, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Like yesterday's featured article from Cityscape, Marie Howland's (U. Md.- Planning)The Private Market for Brownfield Properties also takes advantage of Baltimore's industrial heritage to track brownfield sales. Here's the abstract:
This study examines land sales over a 10-year period - 1990 to 2000 - in one southwest Baltimore industrial district - Carroll Camden - to determine the effect of land contamination on property sales and sales price. I tracked all sales, selling price, time on the market, and the presence of land contamination in the 5,580-acre area. The results indicate that after the mid-1990s, contaminated parcels sold on the private market, with price discounts that accounted for contamination and cleanup. Out of the 144 parcels sold over the 1990-to-2000 decade, positive and market-clearing prices were found for 45 parcels with either confirmed or historical-reasons-to-suspect contamination. Interviews with owners and brokers of parcels on the market for 2 years or more and analysis of the data indicate that the contaminated parcels that did not sell within the 2-year period (1) had above-market asking price; (2) were small and odd-shaped; (3) had inadequate road access for modern trucks; (4) had outdated water, sewer, and telecommunications connections; or (5) had incompatible surrounding land uses. Two policy implications result from these findings. First, if a city such as Baltimore wants to revitalize an industrial area - maintaining its industrial function and remediating contamination - government-subsidized cleanups may not be the most cost-effective policy. Rather, the city should (1) modernize the outdated infrastructure, including roads and fiber optic connections; (2) remove the outdated residential structures that sit in the midst of the industrial area and diminish the desirability of some land parcels for industrial use; (3) consolidate small and odd-shaped properties that are not conducive to modern manufacturing, warehousing, or other industrial uses; (4) ensure city services are efficiently provided, including trash cleanup and police and fire protection; and (5) improve access and egress for modern trucking. The evidence from the Baltimore study indicates that the private sector will discount land prices and assume cleanup responsibilities. The second policy implication is that the market is capable of brownfield cleanup in some locations.
February 24, 2011 in Community Economic Development, Development, Economic Development, Environmental Justice, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, HUD, Nuisance, Redevelopment, Scholarship, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
A recent issue of HUD's Cityscape journal contains several articles on land use and remediation of environmental contamination. The first featured here is Voluntary Cleanup Programs and Redevelopment Potential: Lessons from Baltimore, Maryland by Dennis Guignet and Anna Alberini (both U. Md.--Ag. & Resource Econ.). Here's the abstract:
In the United States, policy has increasingly shifted toward economic incentives and liability attenuation for promoting cleanup and redevelopment of contaminated sites, but little is known about the effectiveness of such policies. These policies include, among others, state Voluntary Cleanup Programs (VCPs), which were established in the United States in the 1990s and, to date, have been implemented in nearly every state. This article focuses on 116 Baltimore properties that were enrolled and participated in the Maryland VCP from its inception in 1997 to the end of 2006 and examines what type of properties tend to participate in these programs, how these properties compare with other eligible but nonparticipating sites, and what the redevelopment potential of VCP properties and implications is toward open-space conversion.
We find that most applicants (66 percent) actually requested a No Further Requirements Determination directly, rather than proposing cleanup. Nevertheless, the VCP led to the identification and environmental assessment of 1,175 acres of contaminated land in the city of Baltimore alone. In Baltimore, VCP properties tend to be industrial, located in areas zoned as industrial, and away from residential neighborhoods. In more recent years, larger properties have increasingly enrolled in the program. Most participating sites are reused as industrial or commercial properties. In contrast with Alberini (2007), these findings suggest that, in Baltimore, pressure for residential development has not driven VCP participation to date. Based on differences in zoning requirements, the VCP may reduce demand for potentially contaminating activities on pristine land by as much as 1,238 to 6,444 acres, in Baltimore alone.
February 23, 2011 in Community Economic Development, Development, Economic Development, Environmental Justice, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, HUD, Industrial Regulation, Nuisance, Redevelopment, Scholarship, Sustainability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Perhaps I am late to the game on this one, but I just saw the trailer for a documentary about the Atlantic Yards controversy. The movie, called Battle of Brooklyn, tells the story of Brooklyn's use of eminent domain to build a sports arena. I am a big fan of eminent domain (hmm.. not sure if that is the right way to put it), but will likely see this movie that appears to focus on the protesters.
The main protester that the film follows actually agreed to a $3 million settlement and moved out. I wonder if they include that tidbit.
- Jessica Owley
February 17, 2011 in Affordable Housing, Community Economic Development, Constitutional Law, Development, Economic Development, Eminent Domain, Environmental Justice, New York, Property Rights | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
Monday, February 7, 2011
We've got a lot of exciting things going on here in Buffalo these days. At the end of March, we'll be holding a symposium and community forum on fracking. I hope to see some of you there!
- Jessica Owley
Hydrofracking: Exploring the Legal Issues in the Context of Politics, Science and the Economy
March 28-29, 2011 at University at Buffalo School of Law
Buffalo, New York
On March 28-29, 2011 the University at Buffalo Environmental Law Program and the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy will host the conference: Hydrofracking: Exploring the Legal Issues in the Context of Politics, Science and the Economy.
Horizontal-gas drilling involving hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking or fracking, and its potential effects is an important environmental and energy concern for the nation. This conference provides an opportunity for a scholarly exchange of ideas regarding the issue as well as a forum for community discussion.
We welcome submissions on any related topic, including the following:
- Hydrofracking and Nuisance Law
- Impacts on Tribal Lands
- Administrative law and the EPA Rulemakings
- Environmental Review Processes
- Application of federal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act
- Energy issues, in including the Energy Policy Act and DOE policy
- Endocrine Disruption and Human Health Impacts
Authors will have an opportunity to publish their work in the Buffalo Environmental Law Journal. You are invited to submit a paper or presentation proposal for of no more than 250 words by Monday, February 21st to email@example.com.
For more information, contact Jessica Owley [firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-645-8182] or Kim Diana Connolly [email@example.com or 716-645-2092]
February 7, 2011 in Clean Energy, Climate, Conferences, Environmental Justice, Environmental Law, Environmentalism, Exurbs, Federal Government, Local Government, New York, NIMBY, Nuisance, Oil & Gas, Planning, Politics, Property, Property Rights, Scholarship, State Government, Sustainability, Water | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Saturday, January 15, 2011
There was a fascinating piece on the radio in the UK this morning on the disputes between gypsy-travellers and settled communities (for a video see here) with direct action taken on both sides. This head-on collision over land use has arisen in the English village of Meriden where a group of gypsies attempted to construct a caravan site for 14 trailers on a field they own over a holiday weekend (giving them an additional day before local planning officers were open again). While these stealth tactics have previously been successful, this time gypsy-traveller ‘land activists’ were opposed by a human barricade of local residents who were determined not to let them build. Eight months later the gypsy-travellers continue to live on the site in their caravans (with sanitary facilities that were permitted to be constructed over the Summer) with both sides awaiting the outcome of an application for planning permission to construct hard standings and further infrastructure on the site.
These are longstanding disputes (gypsies were regulated as early as the Egyptians Act of 1530), with the nomadism and communal living at the heart of many gypsy and travelers’ lifestyles challenging a planning system based on sedentarism and individualism. Rights to camp or pitch caravans on open spaces have long been restricted with public provision made for gypsy-travellers on authorised sites, although there has been a widely acknowledged lack of provision. This situation has been condemned as ‘deplorable’ by the European Court of Human Rights with approximately one in four Gypsies and Travellers living in caravans without a legal place on which to park their home.
Disputes such as that at Meriden raise claims of unfairness, with arguments raging about whether ‘travelling’ or ‘settled’ communities are better treated by the planning system and why, if gypsies are traveling people, they need settled provision at all. The new Conservative-Liberal Democrat, responding to the concerns of their political supporters in the ‘Tory shires’, are about to introduce new rules on planning applications by gypsy-travellers to restrict their ability to apply for retrospective planning permission and to tackle the thorny issue of public provision of authorised sites. In the meantime, at today’s conference, no gypsy-travellers have apparently been invited to attend.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
As a clincian who teaches three semesters a year I rarely have the time or opportunity to produce scholarship. When I do, it's usually in collaboration with clinic students. I recently posted a piece on SSRN of which I am very proud, becuase it's a cross-disciplinary collaboration with a law student, Stinson Ferguson, and a Geography Ph.D student, Ellen Kohl. It's a piece on the Obama Administration's focus on enviornmental justice in its Smart Growth programs, and how it might impact our client communities. Thanks to my Geography colleague, Nik Heynen, it even has a snappy title - "Being Smart (Growth) About Justice: Can the Obama Administration Undo Decades of Environmental Injustice Via Smart Growth?"
The article only begins to speculate about the answer to that question, but we hope it will be a jumping off point to a whole lot more collaborative writing on the topic, and on the struggles and successes of the Newtown community in Gainesville.
The opportunity to write this article came through this blog. The students at Seattle University recently started the Seatlle Environmental Law Journal, where the article first appeared, and they solicited our input for their inagural edition, "The Obama Effect." (Unfortunately the whole edition is not available on-line.)
Happy Thanksgiving! I'm grateful for a great group of colleagues and friends who help create this blog, and to all of you who teach, write, and help communities become stronger and more equitable.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
As previously promised, here is the announcement for the writing competition in conjunction with Ole Miss' Spring 2011 Environmental Justice Symposium.
ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources in collaboration with the University of Mississippi School of Law
STUDENT WRITING COMPETITION (2010-2011)
The American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (ABA-SEER) and the University of Mississippi School of Law are co-hosting a national Environmental Justice Symposium at the Ole Miss Law School in Oxford, Mississippi on April 1, 2011. In conjunction with this Symposium, ABA-SEER announces its Environmental Justice Student Writing Competition and invites law students to submit papers exploring current issues in environmental justice.
Awards: The winning entry will be awarded a prize of $1000 and will be published in a special issue of the Mississippi Law Journal together with other articles and materials from the Symposium. In addition to the first prize, the Competition will award a second prize of $500 and a third prize of $250. The first place paper will also be published on the ABA-SEER website as will the second and third place papers.
Students submitting the first, second and third place entries also will be invited to attend the Environmental Justice Symposium on April 1, 2011 where their selection as winning entries will be announced. ABA-SEER will fund travel and hotel costs for the winning students.
Subject matter: Entries should demonstrate original thought on a question of significance in the field of environmental justice and will be evaluated based on: (1) originality; (2) contribution to the understanding or development of the field of environmental justice; (3) quality of scholarship; and (4) quality and organization of writing.
Eligibility: Students currently enrolled in law school (in the U.S. or abroad) (J.D. or LL.M. programs) are eligible, including students who will graduate in the spring or summer of 2011. Any relevant article, case comment, note, or essay may be submitted, including writing submitted for academic credit. Jointly authored pieces are eligible only if all authors are students and consent to submit. Previously published pieces, or pieces that are already slated for publication, are ineligible.
Deadline: Entries must be received no later than 5:00 PM ET on February 15, 2011. Email entries and questions to Fawziah Y. Bajwa, Assistant Director, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources at BajwaF@staff.abanet.org. Entries will be acknowledged by email.
Cover page. This separate page must include the following information:
• Author’s name, year in law school, and expected graduation date (to facilitate impartial judging, the author’s name and law school must NOT appear anywhere in the essay, other than on the cover page);
• Law school name and address;
• Author’s permanent and school mailing address, email address, and phone number
(IMPORTANT: indicate effective dates for any contact information subject to change);
• Abstract (limited to 100 words) describing the piece; and
• Certification that the article has not been published and is not slated for future publication (while authors may submit their articles to other competitions, acceptance for publication elsewhere will disqualify an entry from further consideration).
Format: Submissions may be of any length up to a maximum of 45 pages (including footnotes), in a double-spaced, 8.5 x 11-inch page format with 12-point font (10-point for footnotes). Citation style must conform to A Uniform System of Citation (latest edition) published by the Harvard Law Review Association (the Bluebook). Submissions must be made by email attachment in Microsoft Word format, with the cover page as a separate attachment.
For more about ABA-SEER, please visit www.abanet.org/environ/
Jamie Baker Roskie
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Stanford has created the Luke Cole Professorship in Environmental Law and Directorship of the Environmental Law Clinic. Deborah Sivas, who has been director of Stanford's environmental clinic since 1997, is the first Cole Professor.
From the story on Stanford's website:
In a Reunion Homecoming ceremony filled with emotion, friends and family dedicated a new Law School professorship to the late Luke Cole, a noted environmental activist who died in a car accident in Uganda this summer at age 46...
Being named the first holder of the Luke Cole chair is especially meaningful for me," said Sivas. "Luke was a contemporary and a colleague whose advocacy on behalf of underserved communities was truly pathbreaking and whose vision of environmental and social justice continues to be so inspiring to all of us who knew him."
"I think Luke would be pleased to know that a gift in his memory will help train and prepare a new generation of lawyers to carry the flame of environmental justice that he lit and kept burning for so many years," Sivas added.
While I never knew Luke Cole, I have read and admired his work since we started an environmental justice caseload three years ago. I also know Deb Sivas through meetings of the environmental clinicians, and I think she does tremendous work. It's nice to see her receive an endowed chair, and the stability this professorship brings should also be good for her clinic.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
South Texas College of Law will be hosting a screening and discussion of the documentary film Crude Justice, produced by the Alliance for Justice, on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 4:00 (rm. 314, with refreshments!). The film chronicles the plight of victims of the Deepwater Horizon spill, with particular focus on the legal justice aspects of the issue. After the film is shown, Professors Olga Moya, Fran Ortiz, and I will comment. and hopefully start an interesting discussion. The event is sponsored by the Islamic Legal Society, the Environmental Law Society, and the Public Interest Law Society. Here's the blurb for the film:
Shot on location in Louisiana, this film explores the damage done by this unimaginable environmental calamity to the lives and livelihoods of the people who depend on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico for their income, their food, and the continuation of their culture. Titled Crude Justice, the 17-minute documentary looks at the difficulties ordinary people face in finding fair compensation and a secure future for their families in the face of corporate domination of the courts, statutes favoring big business, judges with ties to the oil and gas industries, and the uncertainties that accompany an incident where the long-term effects may not be known for years. Crude Justice tells the story of damaged lives, but also of the fighting spirit and resilience of people who understand that what's threatened is not just justice for the victims of the spill, but the integrity of the American judicial system itself.
Go ahead and view the provocative short documentary Crude Justice, and if you are able, join us for the discussion in Houston.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
From David Case:
The American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (ABA-SEER) and the University of Mississippi School of Law are planning a national Environmental Justice Symposium at the Ole Miss Law School in Oxford, Mississippi on April 1, 2011. In conjunction with this Symposium, ABA-SEER will hold an Environmental Justice Student Writing Competition and will be inviting law students to submit papers exploring current issues in environmental justice. Please note that the Writing Competition is in the process of being reviewed by the ABA Board of Governors in October 2010, and thus the official announcement of the Competition will follow that review. If you have any questions about the writing competition, please contact me, or Alexandra Dunn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
As I mentioned in a previous post, former head of Georgia Rural Development for the USDA Shirley Sherrod spoke Saturday night in Gainesville, Georgia. The occasion was a banquet celebrating the 60th Annivesary of the Newtown Florist Club, a Land Use Clinic client. There was a good turn-out for Sherrod's first speech since her ouster and the attempted re-hire by the Secretary of Agriculture. (Read the latest press re: the government e-mails about the controversy, recently obtained through a FOIA request.)
Sherrod's speech was deeply personal. She described the unpunished murder of her father by a white farmer in the 1960s, and how that event made her devote her life to changing things in the South. Her feelings about her father's murder, and the extensive discrimination suffered by black farmers in Southeast Georgia, at first lead her to hesitate in helping a white farmer (when she was running a non-profit agency, before her time at USDA). In telling the story of how she overcame that hesitation to help the white farmer, she became open to the accusations of racism that lead to her ouster, even though she was trying to make the point that, for her, rural development is not about race but about poverty.
Sherrod says she shared that story about the farmer back in July to show others that if she could overcome her own personal demons, then so could others. The story was meant to be used as an example and encouragement for others to come together.
"We can't just work in isolated groups, (all races) need to work together to make the changes in the world that we need to make," Sherrod said.
"It's not about black people by themselves and it's not about white people by themselves. Let's all come together as a community."
I came away with the impression that she plans to write a book about her life, and she vowed at the end of her speech to continue to speak out about racism. It will be remarkable to see where she goes next, in her already remarkable life.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Thanks to John Bonine for the heads' up about this:
Florida A&M University (FAMU) College of Law and the FAMU Center for Environmental Equity and Justice invite you to attend "New Directions in Environmental Justice, An Environmental Law and Justice Symposium," Friday, November 12, 2010, 8:30 a.m. on the law school campus, 201 Beggs Avenue, Orlando, Florida 32801. The symposium will feature an overview of the latest international, national, state, regional and local developments in Environmental Justice. Continuing Legal Education credits (CLE) are available.Speakers
Opening Keynote: Dr. Beverly Wright, Founder and Director of Deep South Center for Environmental Justice in New Orleans
Luncheon Keynote: Mr. Quentin Pair, Esq., U.S. Department of Justice
Closing Keynote: Prof. Maxine Burkett, University of Hawaii School of Law
The cost is $50.00 for the General Public; $35.00 for FAMU Alumni and Environmental Law Attorneys. To learn more, visit http://law.famu.edu. Or, contact Professor Randall Abate, event coordinator, at Randall.email@example.com, or at 407-254-4044.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
By now probably most of you have heard the story of Shirley Sherrod, most recently of the USDA, forced to resign after a highly edited version of an old speech she gave to the NAACP made it seem as if she is unsympathetic to white farmers. (In fact, she was making the opposite point in her speech.) While the agency has since offered to rehire her, she has decided to move on. (Bill O'Reilly even apologized to her for showing the edited clip on his show.)
She will be speaking October 9th in Gainesville, Georgia at a conference on environmental justice sponsored by the Newtown Florist Club. As I've blogged before, NFC is a client of our clinic and one of the oldest and most effective community organizations in Georgia. The conference coincides with the Club's 60th anniversary, and I will also be speaking on a panel on October 8th regarding how EJ communities can work with lawyers. Should be pretty interesting! If you or someone you know might be interested in attending the conference, contact NFC.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
From Roberta Lane at EPA:
for Smart Growth Conference is open until June 30, 2010. To submit a
proposal, visit http://www.newpartners.org/session_proposals.html
I am very intrigued by the theme, which is "Equitable Development." From the submission form:
Should be interesting, plus it's in nearby (for me) Charlotte, NC, next February.
Jamie Baker Roskie
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Brian Glick (Fordham Law), Jessica Rose (Community & Economic Development, Brooklyn Legal Svcs.), & Carmen Huertas (CUNY Law) have posted The Greening of Community Economic Development: Dispatches from New York City, Western New England Law Review, Vol. 31, No. 645 (2009). The abstract:
Community development corporations and other community-based organizations have recently begun to make major efforts to incorporate environmental elements into their projects. This article examines this healthy trend, and lawyers’ contributions to it, through the work of three groups in three diverse communities of color in New York City. It is based on the authors’ experience providing or directing transactional legal assistance to those groups as directors of law school community economic development clinics (Huertas-Noble at CUNY, Glick at Fordham) or of legal services community development units (Rose at Brooklyn Legal Services Corp. A).
Our clients are merging activism for economic development and environmental justice to create green-collar jobs for local residents, build affordable housing that is environmentally friendly, and use local land for sustainable projects that serve and improve the community. In the Cypress Hills section of East New York in Brooklyn, an established community development corporation works creatively to amass the financing required to make its buildings increasingly green. In West Harlem, a prominent environmental justice organization fights for community - serving sustainable land use and for programs to prepare people of color to get their fair share of jobs and contracts in the emerging green economy. In the South Bronx, a new organization forms worker-owned enterprises that train and employ local residents, protect the environment, and offer the potential for residents to accumulate a modicum of local wealth. Other articles in this symposium report a similar convergence of CED and environmental justice efforts in other parts of the country.
This is a promising trend. It offers real possibilities for low-income people of color to live healthier, safer, better lives. It moves forward their efforts to gain greater control over local land and resources. It supports their struggle to survive the deepening economic crisis and offers them the potential to influence and benefit from a more supportive new administration in Washington.
Our snapshots show lawyers, law students and law faculty, making small but important contributions. They help to design, maintain, and adapt legal entities and governance strictures, negotiate contracts and leases, navigate regulatory and subsidy systems, and advise and assist in project development, coordination, and financing. We are committed to doing more of this work and learning how to do it better. We hope you will join us.
Shane J. Ralston (Philosophy, Penn State-Hazelton) has posted Dewey and Leopold on the Limits of Environmental Justice. The abstract:
Environmental justice refers to many things: a global activist movement, local groups that struggle to redress the inequitable distribution of environmental goods (and bads), especially as they affect minority communities, as well as a vast body of interdisciplinary scholarship documenting and motivating these movements. In the past three decades, scholarly debates over what environmental justice requires have been dominated by a discourse of rights. While this rights talk is unlikely to disappear, I argue for an alternative framing of environmental justice issues in terms of two ethics. These paired ethics are inspired by two American thinkers, one who was specifically concerned with ecological matters and the other less so, but equally devoted to elaborating the advantages of experimental problem-solving: Aldo Leopold and John Dewey, respectively. In A Sand County Almanac, Leopold articulated an ethic of restraint. Individuals bear personal responsibility for promoting beauty, stability and diversity in their relations with the land. Dewey proposed an ethic of control, whereby experimental inquiry permits communities to gain greater control over their natural environment and experimentally determine the content of their shared norms. In some respects, Dewey’s ethic of control resembles what Leopold calls the ‘outlook of a conqueror’, not that of a ‘citizen in a land community’. However, if we adopt even a weakly anthropocentric view of human-environment interaction, then exerting some degree of control over one’s natural environment becomes essential for survival and flourishing. Still, pragmatists concerned with environmental justice issues can learn important lessons from Leopold’s ethic of restraint, which extends not only to the land, but also to the oceans and the atmosphere. I demonstrate this point by appealing to the works of J. Baird Callicott and Larry Hickman, as well as to proposals to reduce the anthropogenic inputs (especially global greenhouses gases) responsible for global warming through the intentional manipulation of climate systems—often called ‘geoengineering’.
Friday, February 5, 2010
From the Obama administration:
February 4, 2010
THURSDAY: Top Obama Administration Officials to Promote Sustainable
Communities, Environmental Justice at Smart Growth Conference
WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun
Donovan and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will visit Seattle on
Thursday, February 4, to address the 9th Annual New Partners for Smart
Growth Conference. They will be joined by Environmental Protection Agency
Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus.
Speaking before an audience of more than 1,500 key planners, public health
professionals, developers, government staff and elected officials
Secretaries Donovan and LaHood and Assistant Administrator Stanislaus will
discuss the ways their agencies are working together through the Obama
Administration’s Partnership for Sustainable Communities to improve access
to affordable housing, provide better transportation options, and protect
public health and the environment.
“EPA, HUD and DOT are working together to rebuild our foundations for
prosperity, a process that starts with rethinking the ways our communities
grow,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “The interagency Partnership
for Sustainable Communities is working to give our communities what they
need to grow and thrive with economic resilience and environmental
“I am proud to announce HUD’s brand new Office of Sustainable Housing and
Communities today,” said Donovan. “Working with our partners at DOT and EPA,
this new office will help us streamline our efforts to create stronger, more
sustainable communities by connecting housing to jobs, fostering local
innovation and building a clean energy economy.”
“Our Partnership really is a new way of doing business in Washington, to
help our nation meet 21st century challenges,” said LaHood. “Working
together, we’re creating jobs to revitalize our economy, while helping state
and local transportation agencies to build the capacity they need to promote
livable, walkable, sustainable communities.”
The President proposed $527 million in his budget for an ambitious new
livability initiative at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Its Office
of Livable Communities will be a focal point for initiatives such
as expanding transit in low-income neighborhoods. It will fund a grant
program to help state and local transportation agencies provide more
transportation choices that spur economic development.
The New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, taking place Feb. 4-6, is the
premier national smart growth conference, bringing together experts from a
wide range of disciplines to discuss transportation, housing and urban
development, public health, equitable development, environmental protection,
and other topics. The partnership agencies are working together more closely
than ever before to meet the president’s challenge to coordinate federal
policies, programs, and resources to help urban, suburban, and rural areas
build more sustainable communities.
The New Partners for Smart Growth Conference is managed by the Local
Government Commission, in partnership with EPA, DOT, and other public and
More about the Partnership for Sustainable Communities:
More on EPA’s Smart Growth Program:
More information on HUD’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities:
Jamie Baker Roskie
February 5, 2010 in Clean Energy, Climate, Community Design, Conferences, Development, Economic Development, Environmental Justice, Federal Government, Housing, HUD, Planning, Politics, Race, Redevelopment, Smart Growth, Sustainability, Transportation | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)