Environmental justice is important because it is a basic human right. It allows everyone to have some level of agency over the decisions that impact their lives. Without environmental justice, many people are made to be victims of the plans and ambitions of others. If there is to be any hope for everyone being able to be free to have a meaningful life, environmental justice must be protected so that one person cannot ruin the lives of many.
There are organizations committed to enforcing environmental justice in areas where there are many victims. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Americans should be protected from all environmental and health hazards. These organizations continue to invest large amounts of money and resources into making environmental justice a reality.
Environmental Justice Policy
Environmental justice has two components to it: the choices that you can make and the choices that you cannot make. There are many choices that you can make every day to improve your situation and protect the environment. For example, carpooling is an effective way to reduce pollution in your local environment. The same can be said for recycling and many other actions that people do every day.
The choices that you cannot make tend to be the ones that have the largest impact. For example, a large company being able to mine for uranium near your town is a decision that you are not able to make. For whatever reason, the company was allowed to start its operations. While this can create a serious problem for your community, you may be able to do something about it. If you partner with a lawyer, you may be able to take legal action to stop the company’s actions that are hurting your community.
Examples of Environmental Injustice
Environmental injustice can appear in many different ways. One common way that it exists is because of the actions of companies. When companies choose to pollute or damage the environment, the surrounding communities suffer. According to CalRecycle, many communities already live with multiple sources of pollution. In most cases, those communities did not have a say in how companies choose to dispose of their waste. Instead, they are made to suffer because companies were allowed to pollute the surrounding environment.
Camp Lejeune Is an Example of Environmental Injustice
For nearly three decades, marines at Camp Lejeune drank, bathed in, and cooked with toxic drinking water. As early as 1970, authorities responsible for the wells at Camp Lejeune were aware of the water’s toxicity. Despite several attempts to confirm the danger of the water with testing and take action, moves to protect resident Marines were shut down. They continued to have access to these polluted wells for years to come.
As a result, thousands of service members now suffer the devastating health consequences of toxic water exposure. While our veterans suffer from several types of cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, and adult Leukemia, they only hope their VA benefits are enough to cover their medical expenses. Decades later, our veterans are still suffering the consequences, and not enough has been done to demand justice.
Recent legislation has allowed victims of this injustice to file a personal injury mass tort, so they can finally secure compensation for their significant losses. Demanding justice with claims like these is one step in the right direction.
Investigating Environmental Injustice
If environmental justice is to be enacted, then there must be an investigation to identify and understand sources of environmental injustice. There are organizations that work tirelessly to identify sources of environmental injustice so that legal action can be taken to address those situations.
Lawyers and other legal representatives are often involved in the process. Because of their legal training, lawyers can be effective at investigating the actions of large entities and finding ways of applying legal structures to create change.
If you think that you have identified environmental injustice in your community, discuss the situation with a lawyer to see if you can take legal action to address the situation. You may find that with the right help, the community can make a positive change to protect itself from the actions of others.
Filing a Claim
The process of filing a claim will be slightly different depending on the nature of the case. If your legal claim for environmental injustice is against a government entity, the process might be much different than if it is against your landlord. Your environmental injustice lawyer can guide you in the right direction when it comes to the legal filing processes that are applicable in your case.
Taking Legal Action
Environmental justice is important. It can be all too easy to accept that the status quo is the way that things have to be forever and that it is not worth trying to fix it. Taking legal action can help you to see the changes that are necessary to restore your access to environmental justice. Sometimes an environmental injustice case can create media attention for the issue that might have not otherwise existed.
Each state and county has a slightly different process for filing legal action, the amount of time that you have to file a claim (known as the statute of limitations), and the contacts you will need to forward the legal claim to. Some plaintiffs are comfortable taking care of this process on their own, while others prefer the assistance of an environmental injustice lawyer to help them. The decision on how to proceed is up to you.
Call Today for a Free Case Evaluation
Contact Ben Crump Law, PLLC at (800) 595-2555 if you suffered environmental injustice and to learn more about your options. You can get the help that you need to feel confident moving forward. There is no cost for the initial consultation.