Law360 Quotes James Graves on Impact of New Washington State Environmental Justice Laws on Development Projects

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Environmental partner James Graves was quoted in Law360 in an article titled “How 3 States Are Leading The Way On Environmental Justice,” published January 11, 2022. (Subscription required.) The article discusses steps being taken in three states — New Jersey, Washington, and California — to craft legislation to address the concerns of communities that are subject to an outsized share of health and environmental problems from pollution emitted by nearby industries.

California has led the nation in embedding environmental justice requirements into many parts of its state government. New Jersey and Washington have enacted laws that are intended to reduce harm in communities that are located near industrial centers, in Washington in part by requiring agencies to conduct environmental justice reviews when dealing with impacted communities and vulnerable populations.

According to Seattle-based Graves, project developers could be subject to new requirements for environmental justice reviews, which will put the onus on them to provide information to state agencies conducting the reviews.

“If this proves to be like that, then if you want to get your project done, you might very well be needing to or wanting to provide to the agency the information that it needs to make these determinations with respect to impacts,” he said. “Project applicants may have to themselves do more analysis in terms of EJ impacts as part of working together with an agency to try to get the agency to decide certain things and approve certain things.”

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James T. Graves
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