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The Concept of “Environmental Justice” – Importance forEuropean and National (Environmental) Law?

Mr. Omar Adam Schlüssler, Kassel University
by

Adam Europe

on 4 January 2015

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Transcript of The Concept of “Environmental Justice” – Importance forEuropean and National (Environmental) Law?

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli
The Concept of “Environmental Justice” – Importance for
European and National (Environmental) Law?

INTRODUCTION

CONCEPT
OF
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ORIGINS
ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ORIGINS
LAWS AND REGULATIONS
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ORIGINS
Environmental Justice Europe
EJ IN EUROPEAN CONTEXT
Environmental Justice Europe
Mr. Omar Adam Schlüssler, Kassel University
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ORIGINS
ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE EUROPE
CONCEPT OF ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE
LAWS AND REGULATIONS
UK
GERMANY
MIDDLE-EAST EUROPE
EJ IN EUROPEAN CONTEXT
ENVIRONMENTAL
LAW
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
with the legal command of equal treatment and non-discrimination of human beings – independent from nationality, “race”, gender or income
CIRCLE OF INJUSTICE
REASON FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
August 1978, over 30,000 gallons of waste transformer oil contaminated
with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
were illegally discharged on roadsides in fourteen North Carolina counties.
In 1979, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) along with EPA Region 4 selected Warren County as the site for the PCB landfill.
TO BE AWARE OF INJUSTICE
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
with the legal command of equal treatment and non-discrimination of human beings – independent from nationality, “race”, gender etc.
LAWS

AND REGULATIONS

OF

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires that federal funds be used in a fair and equitable manner.
Title VI directly relates state obligations to eliminate discrimination when administering programs to protect the environment and public health.
Title VI also forbids federal agencies from providing grants or funding opportunities to programs that discriminate.
Under Title VI any federal agency that receives federal funding cannot discriminate.
Clean Water Act
33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq. (1972)
- the Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters

- a citizen can sue a corporation under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for illegally polluting a waterway
Clean Air Act
42 U.S.C. §7401 et seq. (1970)
The Clean Air Act (CAA) is the comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
42 U.S.C. §6901 et seq. (1976)
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) gives EPA the authority to control dangerous waste from the "cradle-to-grave."

This includes the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste
Executive
Order
12898
- promoting enforcement of all health and environmental statutes in areas with minority and low-income populations

- ensuring greater public participation

- improving research and data collection relating to the health and environment of minority and low-income populations
Feb 11, 1994
2012 Environmental
Justice Strategy
Goal 1: Ensure USDA programs provide opportunities for environmental justice communities.
Goal 2: Increase capacity building for
environmental justice communities
Goal 3: Expand public participation in program operations to benefit environmental justice communities
Goal 4: Ensure USDA's activities do not have high and adverse human health impacts, and resolve environmental justice issues.
Goal 5: Increase the awareness, skills, and abilities of USDA employees regarding environmental justice.
Goal 6: Update and/or Develop Departmental and Agency Regulations on Environmental Justice
IWG result of Order 12898
The executive order established an Interagency Working Group (IWG) on environmental justice chaired by the EPA Administrator and comprised of the heads of 11 departments or agencies and several White House offices.
EPA's criminal enforcement program was established in 1982 and was granted full law enforcement authority by Congress in 1988. It enforces the nation's laws by investigating cases, collecting evidence, conducting forensic analyses and providing legal guidance to assist in the prosecution of criminal conduct that threatens people's health and the environment.
EPA's criminal enforcement
Germany
- In Germany subjects with non-German nationality (turkish origins) , East Germans,
respondents with low income, with lower educational status were more likely to report being highly exposed to noise and air pollution.

- Harmful substances in the ambient air as well as regarding harmful substances is considerably higher than in the higher social class.

data of the German Socio-Economic Panel (GSOEP);
United Kingdom
- poorer communities suffer higher levels of pollution

- 82 % of carcinogenic chemicals which were emitted to the air from large factories in England in 1999
were from factories located in the most deprived 20 % of local authority wards

- a link between ethnicity and environmental

- London: problems were concentrated in the poorest areas and correlated with high traffic
levels

Source: European Union, PINCHE: is financed by DG Research as a Thematic Network in the Fifth
Framework Programme, Key Action 4: Environment and Health.
Projectnumber: QLK4-2002-02395
poor Roma settlements throughout the region are located
on the outskirts of villages, separated from the majority population by roads, railways or
other barriers, and disconnected from water pipelines and sewage treatment.

Is it an accident that Roma shantytowns are frequently located next to landfills, on contaminated land, or that they are regularly exposed to floods?

Why do water pipelines end on the edges of their settlements,
so that people have to walk miles every day just to collect potable water for cooking and
drinking?

What role did environmental conditions play in the selection process?
The Strasbourg Court “mobilizes existing human rights”, such as the right to respect for a private family life (Article 8, ECHR), to reach indirectly environmental protection. The leading case-law is Lopez-Ostra v. Spain and Guerra v. Italy.
Based on the Lisbon Treaty the member states now also have been active in developing EU criminal law, which offers new possibilities to target European police and judicial cooperation to supporting environmental justice, by for instance updating the environmental crime directive and fostering police cooperation in combatting environmental crime, like waste trafficking. It is important to be on forefront in trying to use these new tools to fight environmental crime whilst respecting fundamental rights.
The Aarhus Convention (UN/ECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation
in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters) was adopted 1998 at
the Fourth Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" in Aarhus. It defined the
following enabling rights:

• general right of persons to gain access to existing environmental information upon
request

• obligation of public authorities to collect and disseminate environmental information

• public participation in decision-making


(United Nations Economic Commission for Europe 2000).
Definition
“Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all

people regardless of nationality, race, gender, or income with respect to the

development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations,

and policies. (…)“
Fair treatment means that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies
Meaningful Involvement means that:
1. people have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health;
2. the public’s contribution can influence the regulatory agency’s decision;
3. their concerns will be considered in the decision making process; and
4. the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected
PROBLEM

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

Article 7. Respect for private and family life
Everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications


Article 21. Non-discrimination
Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.
Important!!! Especially woman suffer under environental injustice. This is why their fundamental rights need to be protected.
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