Environmental Justice in Virginia: Where are We Now?
Environmental justice is rapidly evolving in Virginia. As a result, regulators are unsure of how to incorporate, or weigh, environmental justice considerations in their decision-making process. However increasingly progressive legislation and landmark judicial decisions that check the power of state’s regulatory bodies have made environmental justice not only a significant but required element in permitting decisions.
Gentry Locke Environmental and Government and Regulatory Affairs attorneys Jasdeep Singh Khaira, Patrice Lewis, D. Scott Foster, and Government Affairs Specialist Abigail Thompson provide a legal update on environmental justice in Virginia within the University of Richmond Public Interest Law Review.
In general, with the current legislature and regulations, Virginians can expect a greater emphasis placed on environmental justice considerations during regulatory decision making. Additionally, we could see more frequent affirmation of localities’ right to consider environmental justice case-by-case rather than by a state-level directive in future permitting situations. This poses an opportunity for localities to be a leader in furthering environmental justice initiatives within the Commonwealth, but may also erode efforts to establish uniform standards of environmental and economic impact considerations for Virginia’s vulnerable communities.
The full legal update can be found here. Please contact one of the authors of this article above, or the attorneys listed on our Government and Regulatory Affairs practice, for any questions related to environmental justice or government regulations.