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The Center for the Urban Environment

The primary mission of the Center for the Urban Environment (CUE) is to support the environmental justice (EJ) community on a local, state and national level.  At the root of EJ is a concern with the disproportionate amount of pollution that is often inflicted upon communities of color and low-income communities, i.e. EJ communities. The EJ movement also strives to ensure that EJ residential communities have access to the benefits produced by improving our environment. CUE has worked with EJ organizations and members of the EJ community on a number of important issues including reducing particulate matter air pollution, climate change, energy policy, cumulative impacts, access to the natural environment, developing EJ legal theories and increasing the capacity of the EJ community to address these and other issues. This work encompasses developing public policy from an EJ perspective; providing written and oral comments on a variety of proposed laws, regulations and siting decisions; linking the EJ community to scientific and legal support; and providing organizational capacity support such as grant writing. CUE’s director, Dr. Nicky Sheats, also spends a significant amount of time talking to various groups about these specific issues and EJ in general.

CUE works closely with the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance (NJEJA). NJEJA is the only statewide organization in New Jersey that focuses on EJ issues and the only Garden State statewide organization, which addresses environmental issues that is a majority Of Color in both membership and leadership. On a national level CUE’s director is the co-director, a steering committee member or a founding member of several organizations including the EJ and Science Initiative, the EJ Leadership Forum on Climate Change, and the Building Equity and Alignment Initiative.

On both a state and national level CUE has become known for playing a leading role in developing innovative public policy that protects EJ communities from high and disproportionate amounts of pollution and therefore improves the health of community residents.