The Environmental Justice Clinic (“EJ Clinic”) was launched in the spring of 2017 with students from Yale Law School, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and the School of Public Health.

The Clinic’s work includes cases and advocacy to advance environmental justice, with a particular focus on enforcement of civil rights in the environmental context. This includes working with clients to develop legal and advocacy strategies to reform EPA’s civil rights compliance and enforcement program, while also developing other approaches to civil rights enforcement in the longer term. The course is taught by Marianne Lado.

Our docket includes:

  1. Litigation
  2. Complaints filed with administrative agencies
  3. Advocacy and research on potential new cases and projects

Mission Statement

The EJ Clinic seeks to serve the environmental justice movement by advancing and enforcing civil rights in the environmental justice context and employing interdisciplinary tools to build legal, administrative, and scientific capacity in support of community-based advocacy. To that end, the Clinic strives to develop a generation of students to be ethical and effective advocates for their clients in this effort.

Clinic Updates

Court Declares that EPA Failed To Protect Civil Rights

On April 2, 2018, a federal court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated the law by waiting a decade or more to investigate civil rights complaints filed by community groups across the country. The decision comes after a lawsuit, litigated by students from the Environmental Justice Clinic at Yale Law School and Earthjustice, challenged EPA’s failure to protect civil rights in the environmental context. Five communities were plaintiffs in the litigation, arguing that EPA had failed to complete civil rights investigations within 180 days as required by law.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Statement Regarding EPA Decision on Uniontown, Alabama

On Friday, March 16, 2018, The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a statement expressing deep concern over the Environmental Protection Agency's dismissal of complaints filed by residents of Uniontown, AL against the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM). The complaints alleged that ADEM's permitting of an expansion of the Arrowhead Landfill in Uniontown adversely and disparately impacted African American residents in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Esther Calhoun, Uniontown resident and president of Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice, and Marianne Engelman-Lado, the Environmental Justice Clinic's supervising attorney, both testified before the Commission during its investigation into environmental justice and civil rights enforcement. The Commission, after conducting its own fact-finding, concluded that the Landfill adversely impacted the surrounding community. See the Commission's statement below.

For more clinic updates please visit our Clinic Updates page.

Contact Us

Natalie Spiegel, EJ Clinician
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