Skip to main content

Environmental Justice

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.

What is Our Role in Environmental Justice?

Environmental Justice at The Department of Justice Banner

Environmental justice is one of the U.S. Attorney's top priorities, assigning an Assistant United States Attorney to review such matters in the District of Massachusetts. The U.S. Department of Justice enforces the Nation’s civil and criminal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and hazardous waste laws. We also protect natural resources and handle cases relating to tribal rights and resources. Ensuring safe living and working conditions for our entire community is a priority of the Department and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Working with our law enforcement and agency partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office seeks to secure environmental justice for all communities in Massachusetts, to provide the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards to all our citizens, and to ensure that everyone has equal access to a healthy environment in which to live, learn, play, and work.

The U.S. Attorney encourages members of the public, particularly members of under-served communities who have been disproportionately affected by environmental pollution, to bring concerns about environmental issues to this office.

Notifying the U.S. Attorney’s Office about environmental justice concerns helps us protect the community from harmful violations of federal law. Residents are strongly encouraged to report environmental health and safety concerns in their neighborhood to the appropriate local, state, or federal agency. Additionally, notifying the United States Attorney’s Office’s Environmental Justice Coordinator helps to protect the community from harmful violations of federal environmental, health, and safety laws. The U.S. Attorney has appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney Hillary Harnett as the District of Massachusetts’s Environmental Justice Coordinator, and encourages Massachusetts residents to report environmental justice concerns to Assistant U.S. Attorney Harnett via email at; by telephone at 617-748-3100; or by mail at the United States Attorney’s Office, One Courthouse Way, Suite 9200, Boston, Massachusetts 02210.

What Can You Do?

If you become aware of an event that may be an immediate threat to human health or the environment, call 911, then report it to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

If you see a potential violation that does not pose an immediate threat to human health or the environment, you should still report it. Depending on the specific type of violation, different federal agencies will be responsible for addressing the concern.

Below you will find a list of relevant agencies and how to contact them. When contacting an agency to report environmental, health, and safety concerns in our District please also email us at Notifying our Office helps us protect the community from harmful violations of federal health and safety laws.

If you still have questions regarding reporting, email us at, or contact the Department’s Environmental Crimes Section (USDOJ-ECS) at or 202-305-0321.

Reporting Potential Violations

If the violation concerns air quality, climate change, health, water, chemicals and toxins (including lead paint), or land, waste, and cleanup, contact the Environmental Protection Agency at

If the violation concerns an oil or chemical spill, contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

If the violation concerns a marine environment, contact the United States Coast Guard at

If the violation concerns pesticides harming wildlife, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 734-995-0387,, or 1-800-344-9453.

If the violation concerns the destruction of wetlands, contact your local district branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Office at 1-800-832-7828.

If the violation concerns workplace conditions, such as chemicals or noxious fumes contact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at 1-800-321-6742.

If the violation concerns housing conditions, contact the Department of Housing & Urban Development – Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG) at 1-800-347-3735.

If the violation concerns transportation of hazardous materials or a pipeline, contact the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) at 1-800-424-9071 or

If the violation concerns medications, cosmetics, biological products, and other products for human consumption, contact the FDA at 1-888-463-6332.

If the violation concerns discriminatory environmental and health impacts caused by recipients of federal funds, contact our office at or DOJ Civil Rights at 1-888-TITLE-06 (1-888-848-5306).

If the violation involves public corruption, contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at

Updated February 12, 2024