Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2006

Publication Title

Saint Louis University Law Journal


environmental racism, pollution, environmental law, environmental justice


This paper is divided into four parts. Part one consists of a general overview of the problem of environmental discrimination. Part two gives a brief discussion of relevant Equal Protection jurisprudence. The section begins with a summary of general Equal Protection law. Then, the section analyzes the primary cases that established the foundation of modem-day Equal Protection doctrine. Part three examines the current application of the intent requirement in environmental discrimination cases. To that end, the section reviews the outcome of three of the early environmental discrimination cases, and speculates about the components that are necessary to prepare a successful Equal Protection challenge in the environmental arena. Part four consists of an extensive analysis of the debate over the validity of the intent requirement. The section starts by encapsulating a few of the proposed theories put forth to replace or modify the intent requirement. The section ends with my suggestion for refining the current application of the intent standard to make the process fairer to the plaintiffs in environmental discrimination cases.