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Advocates for Environmental Justice

That the populations of these cost-efficient regions are racial minorities is an unfortunate consequence of corporate bargain-hunting. However, the suggestion that industrial corporations intend to pollute the neighborhoods of, for example, African-Americans simply because they are African-American seems unlikely. It is more plausible to assume, as even the Social Science Journal does, that corporations are motivated by cost, not race. Racism, then, may be regarded as a consequence of environmental injustice, not a cause of it.

Indeed, as proponents of environmental justice have rallied for support in the halls of legislature, it has been difficult to prove that corporations have a discriminatory intent when making their selections for potentially harmful facilities (Huebner 60). This has hampered efforts made by environmental activists to use the U.S. Constitution to buoy their cause. In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court officially required that litigants must prove, when citing the equal protection clause of the Constitution, that decisions to build industrial facilities were racially motivated (Huebner 61).

Some recourse, however, has come in the form of a 1997 finding by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which allows individuals a private right of action to raise Title VI (of the 1964 Civil Rights Act) claims based on 'disparate impact', or discriminatory effect, against perpetrators of environmental injustice (Huebner 60). Title VI of the Civil Rights Act insists that no one be subjected to discrimination 'under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance' on the grounds of 'race, color, or national origin' (Huebner 60). As such, it would appear that those fighting for environmental justice need not be so concerned with proving discriminatory intent; instead, showing that a disparate impact has been sustained by a racial or poor community will be enough (perhaps) to win claims against corporate America...

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Advocates for Environmental Justice. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:28, August 19, 2017, from
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