On May 12, 2021, Resources for the Future (RFF) and the Urban Institute hosted the second event in Exposure, a six-part webinar series on environmental justice. A panel of experts addressed issues of energy justice, energy poverty, green jobs, and energy transition communities. The conversation covered issues that arise on both ends of the energy system—equity in household energy services as well as just transitions for communities whose livelihoods depend on the fossil fuel industry.
- Carlos Martín, Urban Institute
- Margaret Walls, Resources for the Future
- Chandra Farley, Partnership for Southern Equity
- Catherine Hausman, Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
- Tony Reames, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan
- Pilar Thomas, Quarles and Brady LLP
- Anne Junod, Urban Institute (moderator)
- Daniel Raimi, Resources for the Future (moderator)
Exposure: An RFF-Urban Institute Series on Environmental Justice
Environmental justice (EJ) is an imperative that is finally getting its national policy due. For many low-income neighborhoods, households of color, tribal communities, and other marginalized groups, environmental injustice compounds a legacy of social, economic, and political disenfranchisement. Recent presidential executive orders, appointments, and proposed legislation acknowledge the disproportionate burdens of negative environmental conditions and exposures, and reduced access to environmental benefits and amenities, placed on these populations.
Since the groundbreaking Toxic Wastes and Race and Dumping in Dixie published in the late 1980s first brought EJ issues to the fore, scholars have supported activists and journalists by investigating the mechanisms that create and perpetuate environmental inequities and exclusion and quantifying the extent of the problems. This combined scholarship and advocacy has led to improved monitoring and outcome tracking and some progress in finding solutions to persistent pollution problems. But inequities persist—and as the United States begins to reckon with the climate crisis, designing climate policies that benefit all communities will be imperative.
RFF and the Urban Institute are hosting this webinar series on the current state of EJ research across disciplines, examining how research can inform policy and identifying remaining gaps in knowledge. With panels of experts from the research and EJ advocacy communities, we will take a deep dive into issues related to cumulative environmental impacts, EJ screening tools, energy equity and transitions, benefit-cost analysis and regulatory design, disaster and climate adaptation, and the design of climate policies. The series will also ask how research can inform better policy design and public investments to remedy inequities, past and present.