Law360: Stacey Halliday Discusses Environmental Justice in Relation to President Biden’s Recent Executive Order


Last week, President Biden signed an unprecedented Executive Order, Revitalizing Our Nation’s Commitment to Environmental Justice for All, which will drastically shape the environmental justice (EJ) landscape for years. The order established a new White House Office to oversee these EJ efforts within the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), expanded the definition of EJ to include tribal affiliations and disabilities as protected categories, and further emphasized the Administration’s focus on “cumulative impacts”. Stacey Halliday, co-chair of B&D’s EJ practice, spoke with Law360 on the order in, “What To Know About Biden's Enviro Justice Executive Order.”

Stacey said the new EJ office within CEQ could “serve as a unifying force for the interagency council members.” She elaborated by saying that "The agencies talk to each other through [CEQ], but ultimately, they're developing their own methodologies for their own specific purposes and for their agency's missions and scope. It could be helpful to have some unifying conversations about what the expectations are holistically."

Stacey also mentioned that the “executive order's recognition that there should be a major focus on cumulative impacts shows the White House is thinking holistically about industrial density and existing vulnerabilities and burdens, and could lead to clearer policies about how to consider them” in permitting practices. She added, “the problem with bringing cumulative impacts into the permitting process has been that there's not much agreement on how to measure those effects.” Other states, including New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts, have already taken steps to consider cumulative impact in permitting processes.

B&D's Environmental Justice practice has been at the forefront of EJ issues for decades, bringing specialized private sector and government experience to bear. We represent multinational companies and municipal clients in complex disputes and high-profile project development, corporate ethics and governance, environmental compliance, and investigations related to EJ and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enforcement. Our Infrastructure and Project Development and Permitting practice offers a full range of counseling, permitting, and litigation services for developers of energy, water, transportation, municipal, and other infrastructure, including significant experience and capabilities in support of NEPA reviews. For more information, please contact the authors.