Disparate-impact regulations promulgated by EPA pursuant to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, until recently, had shown promise as a private legal tool to obtain redress from the disparate siting of envi-ronmental harms in minority communities. Alexander v. Sandoval, how-ever, has held that there exists no private implied cause of action to en-force disparate-impact regulations. In so doing, the Court also strongly suggested that disparate-impact regulations, standing alone within EPA’s own administrative enforcement process, were invalid exercises of admin-istrative discretion under Title VI. The Court’s implicit reasoning, based upon Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, is unpersuasive because, contrary to Sandoval’sassertion, Bakke never held that there existed clear congressional intent to limit the scope of Title VI to intentional discrim-ination. Conversely, prior Supreme Court caselaw has never held that dis-parate-impact regulations are valid. Rather, an analysis under the holding of Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council is the only appropriate tool with which to prove the validity of disparate-impact regulations.
- Journal title
Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review
- Date submitted
6 September 2022