What is Environmental Justice?

Environmental justice means ensuring that everyone has equal access to safe, healthy environments, regardless of income, race, Tribal affiliation, national origin or disability. Environmental Justice seeks to achieve equitable, inclusive decision-making processes and fair outcomes that protect all people from environmental and health hazards.

Capacity Building for Environmental Justice

Local governments are faced with the compounding challenges of reckoning with deeply entrenched, historical social inequalities while addressing emerging environmental threats and health disparities from climate change. National League of Cities (NLC) is committed to supporting its members in cities, towns and villages across the country as they work towards their environmental justice goals.

We support municipalities with:

  1. Technical assistance and capacity building through our participation in EPA’s Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center (EJ TCTAC) program. We help cities, towns and villages navigate the federal funding landscape, write strong grant proposals, effectively manage grant funding and equitably engage communities in environmental justice projects.
  2. Education, connection and partnerships to disseminate and scale environmental justice solutions nationally through developing trainings, research and opportunities for peer learning.
  3. Federal advocacy to ensure that local governments have the policies, funding and other resources they need to effectively and equitably meet their environmental goals.

Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center

At the core of our Environmental Justice program is our EPA Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center (TCTAC) work. Alongside our partners at International City/County Management Association (ICMA), National Forum for Black Public Administrators (NFBPA), Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) and Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), NLC works nationally to help municipalities identify, access and deploy funding opportunities to address local environmental justice concerns.

In addition to one-on-one technical assistance, NLC provides training, peer-learning opportunities and research-based guides to build municipalities’ capacity to achieve their environmental justice goals.

Reach out to sustainability@nlc.org for inquiries on how to take advantage of our TCTAC offerings. To request technical assistance through NLC and our partners at ICMA’s TCTAC, fill out this form.

Environmental Justice Spotlight Series

The Environmental Justice Spotlight Series is a set of resources designed to guide municipal governments through applying an all-of-government approach to environmental justice. Using an environmental justice lens in all planning, policy and programmatic work can help communities equitably address longstanding and emerging environmental challenges.

This series is not a comprehensive encapsulation of all environmental justice challenges, considerations and solutions. Rather, we hope the Spotlight Series can be a useful starting point for municipal staff and leaders to figure out how they can work towards environmental justice through their roles in their communities.

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