Environmental Justice

New infrastructure and industrial development must meaningfully address environmental justice considerations by managing and mitigating any impacts on frontline communities. Community demands and governmental policies are in a period of rapid transformation that present an array of new challenges.

McGuireWoods has been at the forefront of solving environmental justice problems stretching 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 actions and representing industry in other proceedings that raise environmental justice considerations.

New policies from the Biden administration are pushing environmental justice policy in new and consequential directions, as do state-based environmental justice initiatives. In response to these developments, we advise companies, municipal clients, and trade organizations in complicated environmental justice disputes, environmental compliance matters, corporate ethics and disclosures, as well as state and federal regulatory and enforcement initiatives. 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 concerns and project requirements.

How We Help

We offer the following services to our clients facing environmental justice inquiries. 

  • 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
  • Compliance with developing case law and emerging state and federal legal requirements that inform how to conduct environmental justice analyses
  • Designing mitigation projects to address environmental justice concerns
  • Building strategies and plans for effective community engagement that satisfies company legal obligations
  • Responding to enforcement actions
  • Defending permitting decisions in the judicial review process
  • Helping companies to 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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