Environmental Justice (or“EJ”) has been recognized as a concept since

at least 1982. After decades of incremental and ineffective efforts by the federal

government, it has become clear that EJ must evolve beyond the concept

stage if it is to be an effective vehicle for social and legal change. At its heart,

EJ is a function of social inequities and environmental harms, and the disproportionate

correlation between those components can no longer be ignored

by state and federal actors. The way forward must be paved with practical

legal solutions and affirmative application of regulatory authority. This

article examines the history of EJ primarily through the lens of the U.S. Environmental

Protection Agency and the White House, and evaluates the progress

made in terms of regulations and permitting. The article also examines

recent administrative and judicial decisions addressing EJ claims and, in

conclusion, provides recommendations for ways in which EJ issues can be

better presented and addressed.