Environmental Justice

The EPA defines Environmentl Justice as follows

” Environmental Justice  is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys:

  • The same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and
  • Equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.”


In this exercise, you will watch a simulated video inteview with a farmer in California who is trying to cope with both a drought and the application of the Doctrine of Prior Appropriation (DPA).  Recall the DPA is doctrine of water allocation used in the west.  Water allocation law addresses: who has the right to the water; how much water can you use; can you lose your right; and can you sell or lease your right.  The main DPA principles are: First in time, first in right (it establishes a hierachy of right from senior to junior appropriators), Water use must be reasonable or beneficial ( those lower on the hierachy scale of right can do no harm to those more senior)  and one can sell or lease water rights without selling the land the water is derived from.

Watch the video and then provide social, technical, economic and legal ideas to help a poor farming community with their water supply. 

Environmental Justice

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