Legislation to enact Environmental Justice is moving forward. The concept of Environmental Justice or “EJ,” has been gaining momentum for several years.
EJ in the United States
Over the past two years, our neighbours in the United States have heavily integrated EJ into nearly every federal government agency. In the US, EJ originated in a 1994 Executive Order under President, Bill Clinton.
Bill C-226 – Environmental Justice
EJ is being advanced in Bill C-226, “An Act respecting the development of a national strategy to assess, prevent and address environmental racism and to advance environmental justice.” The third reading was completed in the House of Commons on March 29, 2023. The second reading in the Senate is in progress.
According to the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), if Bill C-226 becomes law, it will “require the government to examine the links between racialization, socio-economic status and environmental risk, and develop Canada’s first national strategy on environmental racism and environmental justice.”
Environmental Justice and Permits
EJ looks beyond “hard science” and typical environmental permits that include numeric limitations on discharge permits. EJ looks at “soft science” issues such as social issues and equity. This focus can pose different challenges in environmental permits.
Example of Environmental Justice Denying Permit
In the US, EJ can be the basis for denying permits and pose challenges for permit renewals.
Last fall, one EJ case in the US received a lot of attention. Judge Trudy White, 19th Judicial District Court, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, blocked a plan by Formosa Plastics Group to build a plant in Louisiana. The planned project, a $9.4 billion plant, had received the necessary permits (14 in total) from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ); however, the ruling from Judge White stopped the development of the Formosa Plant.
Judge White wrote the following in denying the permits:
“This court holds that, on the facts of this case, an environmental justice analysis was mandatory…”
“LDEQ must take special care to consider the impact of climate-driven disasters fueled by greenhouse gases on environmental justice communities and their ability to recover” (emphasis was in the court document).
As we understand, Formosa will continue to pursue siting the plant in Louisiana.
The development and implementation (assuming it passes) of Bill C-226 will likely be carefully monitored by those whom it seeks to protect as well as the regulated community.
If you have questions or need assistance with an environmental issue, contact Christopher Paré, P.Geo., Q.P. at 519-948-7300, Ext. 114.
Dragun Corporation does not use artificial intelligence in drafting our blogs or any other material.
This blog was drafted by Alan Hahn. Alan has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and completed a graduate program in Environmental Management. He has worked in environmental management for 45 years. He has written hundreds of blogs and articles. His published work includes HazMat Magazine, BizX Magazine, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, GreenStone Partners, Manure Manager Magazine, and Progressive Dairy.
This blog was reviewed by Christopher Paré, P.Geo. Chris is a senior geoscientist and manager of Dragun’s Windsor, Ontario, office. Chris has more than 30 years of experience on projects ranging from environmental site assessments (Phase One/Two ESA), excess soils, remedial investigations, soil and groundwater remediation, Permits to Take Water, Records of Site Conditions, vapour intrusion, and site decommissioning. Chris is a frequent speaker, author, and expert witness. See Chris’ bio.
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