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Failed PromisesEvaluating the Federal Government's Response to Environmental Justice$
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David M. Konisky

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028837

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028837.001.0001

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Federal Environmental Justice Policy

Federal Environmental Justice Policy

Lessons Learned

(p.232) (p.233) 9 Federal Environmental Justice Policy
Failed Promises

David M. Konisky

The MIT Press

The final chapter of the book reviews and synthesizes the key findings from the preceding chapters. The main general take-away conclusion from the book is that the federal government, and in particular the EPA, has not effectively integrated environmental justice considerations into decision-making as part of its core regulatory programs and activities. More broadly, the environmental justice policy reforms put in place in the mid-1990s, especially Executive Order 12898, failed to deliver on their promise of changing federal environmental decision-making. The reasons for this conclusion pertain to challenges specific to permitting, rule-making, enforcement and the other areas studied in the book as well as to several factors that cut across these areas. Specifically, three factors are identified as having impeded general progress: failure of the EPA to develop clear policy guidance, inadequate coordination across EPA regions and states, and inconsistent agency leadership. Although the book concludes with a sobering assessment of the limits to date of federal environmental justice policy, the author concludes that there is some reason for optimism in light of recent policy efforts at the EPA under Plan EJ 2014.

Keywords:   Environmental justice, Inequality, Policy failures, Environmental Protection Agency, Executive Order 12898, Policy guidance, Coordination, Leadership, Plan EJ 2014

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