Miami Law's Center for Ethics & Public Service has created a new project aimed at supporting communities affected by issues surrounding environmental justice in Miami-Dade County. The Environmental Justice Project, an outreach effort of the center's Historic Black Church Program, conducts research into the environmental, community, and public-health effects of environmental justice cases, in addition to serving as a liaison between communities, public officials and policy makers.
"This project aims to assist underserved South Florida communities suffering from the effects of environmental injustice through partnering with an academic-based research project focused specifically on addressing these types of issues," said Zach Lipschultz, a post-graduate fellow who is helping to run this project. "In addition to the Environmental Justice Project's research component, we hope to increase awareness and support for environmental justice cases in South Florida through traditional media outlets and organizing community events."
Current research is focused on the placement of a City of Coral Gables trolley depot in a residential West Coconut Grove neighborhood.
"The Environmental Justice Project signals an exciting expansion of the Historic Black Church Program's capacity to support South Florida faith-based institutions and nonprofit groups devoted to antipoverty and civil rights work," said Professor Anthony V. Alfieri, director of the Center for Ethics and Public Service. "The project also enables the program to enlarge its interdisciplinary breadth both at the law school and across the university."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines environmental justice as "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies." By design, environmental justice blends many of the principles from the civil rights and environmental movements to promote the equitable distribution of environmental burdens and benefits regardless of race, income or ethnicity.