When the principles were signed in 1991, Dumping in Dixie was the only environmental justice book in print. Today, there are hundreds of EJ books covering a wide range of disciplines spanning the globe. The principles laid the foundation for the Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898, signed by President Bill Clinton on February 11, 1994. The Order signing was held in the Oval Office in the White House and witnessed by a number of EJ leaders. Unfortunately, it has never been fully implemented. After lying dormant for nearly a decade under the George W. Bush administration, the Order received new life in 2010 under the Obama administration—with the reinvigoration of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) that called for updating more than a dozen agencies' EJ strategic plans and Plan EJ 2014, a roadmap that will help EPA integrate environmental justice into its programs, policies, and activities.
The principles have provided guidance for the larger EJ Movement and played an important role in moving EJ into all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Today, there are more than a dozen university-based environmental justice centers, four of which are located at historically black college and universities (HBCU), 22 legal clinics that list environmental justice as a core area, and six academic programs that grant degrees in environmental justice, including one legal program. Since the adoption of the 1991Principles, more than two-dozen environmental justice leaders have won prestigious national awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, Heinz Award, Goldman Prize, MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships, Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World Award, Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leaders Award, and others. While significant progress has been made over the past two decades, much more is needed to ensure that all Americans enjoy healthy, livable and sustainable communities.