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Beyond Baby Steps

An Empirical Study of the Impact of Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898

Geltman, Elizabeth Glass JD, LLM; Gill, Gunwant JD; Jovanovic, Miriam

doi: 10.1097/FCH.0000000000000113
Original Articles

This study evaluated the impact of Executive Order (EO) 12898 to advance environmental justice. We conducted a review evaluating the frequency and effective use of EO 12898 since execution with particular focus following President Obama's Plan EJ 2014. We found that both EO 12898 and Plan EJ 2104 had little, if any, impact on federal regulatory decision making. To the extent federal agencies discussed EO 12898, most did so in boilerplate rhetoric that satisfied compliance but was devoid of detailed thought or analysis. In the 21st year, with the exception of the Environmental Protection Agency, very little federal regulatory activity included references to EO 12898.

Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences at Hunter College and the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health, New York (Dr Geltman); King County, Supreme Court, New York (Dr Gill); and Hunter College, New York (Ms Jovanovic).

Correspondence: Elizabeth Glass Geltman, JD, LLM, Associate Professor and Program Director, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, 2180 Third Ave, Room 524, New York, NY 10035 (

This study was funded by generous grants from Professional Staff Congress–City University of New York and the Hunter College Undergraduate Research Initiative. Additional in-kind support was provided by the Temple University Center for Health Law and Policy and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Elizabeth Glass Geltman led the research and writing of this article. Gunwant Gill and Miriam Jovanovic acted as coders, conducted a background literature review, and made substantive contributions to the research and writing of this article.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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