Environmental Justice

Environmental justice calls on society to ensure that all people — regardless of race, color, national origin or income — have equal access to the systems used to make environmental policy and are protected from environmental and health hazards. Businesses, governments, local communities and activists throughout the United States are engaging on how to address disproportionate environmental impacts on frontline communities.

McGuireWoods has been at the forefront of solving environmental justice problems that stretch back to President Clinton’s 1994 executive order directing the federal government to address disproportionately high environmental impacts on minority and low-income populations. That work has included responding to federal rulemaking proceedings that address environmental justice implications. New policies from the Biden administration build on this framework, as do state-based environmental justice initiatives. McGuireWoods’ attorneys and consultants lead clients through this rapidly changing landscape.

At McGuireWoods and public affairs subsidiary McGuireWoods Consulting, our relationships with stakeholders at the federal, state and local levels enable us to strategically coordinate and manage the complex dynamics and issues that environmental justice presents. We advise companies, municipal clients and trade organizations in complicated environmental justice disputes, corporate ethics, environmental compliance, state law developments and emerging federal regulatory requirements. Our focus on environmental issues — including facility permitting, project development and permitting, air and climate change, water quality, waste management and sustainability — combined with our legislative and lobbying expertise enable us to offer clients the comprehensive skills and experience necessary to effectively navigate and address environmental justice issues and project requirements.

In support of individual projects, McGuireWoods has advised on the development of environmental justice strategies, interfaced with community leaders and the public, and negotiated mitigation packages. This work helps move complex permitting actions toward successful completion while addressing these important issues in a meaningful way and blunting litigation that seeks to derail new development.

How We Help

  • Working with state and federal regulators to develop creative responses to environmental justice issues, including air, water and waste permitting
  • Addressing environmental justice issues under the National Environmental Policy Act
  • Designing mitigation projects to address environmental justice concerns
  • Building strategies and plans for community engagement
  • Responding to enforcement actions
  • Helping companies develop their own environmental justice policies
  • Effectively managing environmental justice disclosures in company ESG and financial materials
  • Assisting companies participating in rulemaking proceedings with environmental justice implications
  • Shaping state and federal legislation
Full Team
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