Environmental Justice Clinic - Resources

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Community Benefits Agreement Template & General Resources

A Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) is a legally binding, private contract between a developer and community-based organizations. CBAs aim to benefit both parties: the developer commits to providing specified community benefits and community groups agree to support the project in the governmental approval process. Through CBAs, low-income communities can shape development projects to benefit their neighborhoods. The EJC developed the Community Benefits Agreements: Template and Resources as a guide to provide communities with a template, as well as access to CBA resources and examples that have been successfully implemented in various communities across the nation. The goal is to enable users to consider different options and fashion creative solutions tailored to address specific community needs

Displacement Vulnerability and Mitigation Tool Template

Displacement is defined as the involuntary relocation of households and/or businesses due to direct development or because of increasing market values, rents, or changes in the neighborhood’s ability to meet basic needs. Of particular relevance in South Florida is the displacement that occurs as a result of climate gentrification. Climate gentrification occurs when climate-driven development (i.e., when areas more resilient to the effects of climate change such as those that have higher elevations are targeted for development), displaces existing low-to-moderate-income marginalized communities.

In response to concerns raised by the Clinic’s community partners, the EJC developed the Displacement Vulnerability and Mitigation Tool, or DVMT for short. The DVMT is designed for municipalities to assess and mitigate the risk of displacement of protected classes and vulnerable populations created by proposed developments during the permitting process. It equips real-estate developers and local municipalities with research-informed strategies to mitigate and redress the segregative effects that can occur when residents are displaced and re-segregated.


1. Submission of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review: The EJC supported, co-sponsored, and provided feedback to Housing and Homelessness in Miami-DadeCounty, Florida, a submission to the Human Rights Council for the Thirty-Sixth Session of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of the United States of America in May 2020.

2. Comments on HUD’s Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard: On October 18, 2019, the EJC signed on and supported comment letters in opposition of “HUD’s Proposed Rule Regarding the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard,” spearheaded by Earthjustice and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council.

3. Amicus Brief: former EJC Director Natalie Barefoot joined thirty-six law professors to submit an amici curiae brief to the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund, et al. This case presents the issue of whether the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires a permit when pollutants originate from a point source but are conveyed to navigable waters by a nonpoint source, such as groundwater. In the facts of this case, the Court is considering whether treated wastewater that is discharged into underground injection control wells by the County of Maui, and traceably travels through groundwater and into the navigable waters of the Pacific Ocean, requires a CWA permit. The case was argued in front of the Supreme Court on November 6, 2019. The environmental law professors’ brief was led by Duke University Professors Steve Roady, Michelle Nowlin, and Shannon Arata. This is a significant environmental law case which will have implications in Florida where underground injection wells are used and additional wells are being constructed to address the redirecting of treated wastewater currently being disposed of through ocean outfalls.

4. Movement Lawyering Workshop: The EJC co-sponsored the Movement Lawyering in Action Workshop [FAL2] to explore the history and practice of movement lawyering. The workshop was facilitated by Law For Black Lives on October 25, 2019 and allowed participants to learn about theories of change and participate in movement lawyering exercises.

5. Antarctica: former EJC Director Natalie Barefoot is a member of Homeward Bound, a global leadership initiative which aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in making decisions that shape our planet. Homeward Bound is a year-long leadership program, which culminates in a trip to Antarctica in November 2020, where the leaders in STEMM fields engage in leadership activities to address our planet’s wicked problems in a space where they are cut off from outside influences and witness first-hand the effects of human activities on the environment. Homeward Bound seeks to network 1,000 female leaders from around the world to support and amplify their voices and perspectives which bring critical insights into the global-scale change required to protect our planet. Natalie brings these experiences into the coursework at the EJC as well as the University.

6. Norway: In November 2019, former EJC Director Natalie Barefoot participated in a Sedna Epic Expedition to the Arctic Circle. This all-female expedition brought 14 leaders from 21 to 78 years old together to understand issues that indigenous populations and biodiversity are facing in the Arctic. The EJC incorporates these perspectives and information into its coursework and projects.

7. 2019 National Bar Association Wiley A. Branton Symposium: The National Bar Association is the nation’s largest and oldest national network of predominately African American attorneys, law professors, law students, and judges. In Fall of 2019, the National Bar Association held its annual meeting in Miami. On October 31, 2019, EJC Mysun Foundation Fellow Daniela Tagtachian led and participated in the Cutting Edge Issues in Housing and Employment opening plenary panel for the symposium. On November 2, 2019, EJC Mysun Foundation Fellow Daniela Tagtachian presented on the social equity and fair housing implications of transitioning to form-based code. She was also a panelist for The Environmental Town Hall and Color of Immigration Policy, a concurrent session, where she presented on environmental justice, civil rights, and the work of the Environmental Justice Clinic.

8. Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and Kennedy School of Government Panel: On September 30, 2019, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and Kennedy School of Government hosted the event Between Preservation and Adaptation: Culture, Housing and Place Making. former EJC Director Natalie Barefoot participated as a panelist at a session addressing Rapid Urban Adaptation and Cultural Preservation.

9. National Bar Association EJ Webinar: EJC Mysun Foundation Fellow Daniela Tagtachian participated in a webinar hosted by the National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division titled “How to be an Environmental Justice Advocate as a Young Lawyer” on December 13, 2019.

10. Model CBA Resource Guide: In May 2020, alongside community partners (Catalyst, the Community Justice Project, and the Corporate Social Responsibility Foundation), the EJC took part in the development of the Model CBA Resource Guide, which was based on the Community Benefits Agreements: Template and Resources template the EJC developed.

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