Beyond Protest: The Effects of Grassroots Activism on Maryland and Pennsylvania's Responses to Environmental Justice

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Environmental Justice






Grassroots environmental justice (EJ) activists have had some success in changing the way their state governments address the racial dimensions of environmental inequality. This article examines the impact of grassroots EJ activism in Maryland and Pennsylvania on the states' environmental regulatory regimes and public policy-making cycles. These cases from the understudied Mid-Atlantic Region help to clarify the conditions under and process(es) by which EJ activism transformed some aspects of the states' environmental regulatory institutions, processes, and policies. This research uses qualitative analyses of original data collected from state created EJ advisory committee meeting minutes and annual reports, archives, interviews, newspaper articles, and published reports detailing EJ activism, as well as the development and implementation of EJ policies, institutions, initiatives, and programs in each state. These analyses discuss a few of the most important issues and show how by participating to demand more equitable outcomes in environmental processes and policy, citizens through grassroots EJ organizations influenced both the structure and outputs of their respective states' environmental regulatory regimes. The conclusion considers the broader implications of the findings.