Environmental justice communities throughout the United States continue to face disproportionate health burdens from living near industrial sources of pollution. Such burdens were caused by historically racist public policies and continue to be perpetuated by inadequate regulatory responses at the federal and state level. State and federal law has increasingly recognized an emerging set of rights afforded to victims of crime in court proceedings. We argue that members of environmental justice communities should be viewed as crime victims and have the same rights applied as other victims of violent crime. Using case examples under the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA) and exploring significant amendments to state constitutions in the last few years due to the Marsy’s Law Movement, we argue for the emerging potential to apply these rights to environmental justice communities. We contend this move will open up a new path to reduce harm for environmental justice communities left by the failures of the regulatory state and begin to give them voice and make them whole.
Recommended CitationJoshua Ozymy and Melissa L. Jarrell, Of Sex Crimes and Fencelines: How Recognition of Environmental Justice Communities as Crime Victims Under State and Federal Law Can Help Secure Environmental Justice, 38 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 109 (2020)
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