Graduate Project

Understanding the Implementation of Oregon's Environmental Justice Statute

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  • The environmental justice (EJ) movement has succeeded in achieving policy change across different levels of government, however, there has been relatively little research to date on the implementation of environmental justice policies at the state level. The state of Oregon provides an opportunity to understand how state-level EJ policies are being implemented. In 2007, SB 420 established Oregon’s Environmental Justice Task Force and environmental justice guidelines for the state’s natural resource agencies. This research seeks to answer questions of how the state agency employees tasked with implementing the environmental justice statute perceive their roles and the progress made under the statute. Semi-structured interviews with state agency employees and publicly-available documents were analyzed using the environmental justice frame and organizational theory. Findings indicate that there is a range of interpretations on the part of agencies to the statute. This work can help inform environmental justice advocacy, policymaking, and policy implementation in Oregon and other states.
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