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Environmental Justice and Public Health

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, in coordination with the Office of Environmental Justice within the United States Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, enforces civil and criminal federal environmental laws as part of the Department of Justice’s Comprehensive Environmental Justice Enforcement Strategy.

What is environmental justice?

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office seeks to secure environmental justice for all communities by prioritizing investigations, cases, and prosecutions that will protect overburdened and underserved communities from environmental and health hazards and ensure those communities have equal access to a healthy environment in which to live, learn, play, and work.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office also seeks to build partnerships with communities and community advocates in pursuit of this strategy.

Violations of Federal Environmental and Civil Rights Laws

Environmental justice concerns can arise from a legal violation that impacts or involves:

  • Air quality
  • Climate change
  • Chemicals and toxics
  • Water
  • Land, waste, and cleanup
  • Public health

These violations may trigger enforcement or investigation under the following federal environmental laws and related regulations:

  • Clean Air Act
  • Clean Water Act
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Superfund Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • Toxic Substances Control Act

A summary of these and related environmental laws and regulations can be found at the EPA’s Laws & Regulations informational website: EPA Laws and Regulations.

Environmental justice concerns may also trigger investigation and enforcement of federal civil rights laws, including:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other laws that prohibit disability discrimination.
  • The Fair Housing Act (FHA)
  • Title II of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, and national origin in places of public accommodation.
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, and national origin by programs that receive federal financial assistance.

A complete list of these laws can be found here: Civil Rights Enforcement.

Environmental Justice Complaints

The U.S. Attorney’s Office welcomes information from the public concerning possible violations of environmental laws that impact overburdened and underserved communities. Environmental justice complaints can be submitted by email, mail, or phone.

You do not need a special form to submit a complaint, but we recommend using the form below:

To submit a complaint by email, complete and save the form above, and email it to:

To submit a complaint by mail, print and complete the form above, and mail it to:

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado
Environmental Justice Intake Coordinator
1801 California St., Suite 1600
Denver, CO 80202

To submit a complaint by phone, call 303-454-0100.

Language interpretation and disability accommodations are available upon request.

Updated January 27, 2023