The 1991 People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit adopted Principles of Environmental Justice covering an extensive range of topics. Environmental justice has been broadly defined as "the pursuit of equal justice and equal protection under the law for all environmental statutes and regulations without discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and /or socioeconomic status" and also as one of four related concepts including environmental equity, environmental racism, and environmental classism.
The definition of environmental justice used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency focuses on "disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences" which flow either directly from "industrial, municipal, and commercial operations" or indirectly from the way that "federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies" are carried out. The National Governors Association definition focuses more specifically on "protect[ing] minority and low-income communities from bearing a disproportionate share of pollution."
The Board of Trustees of Environmental Defense, which sponsors Scorecard, has adopted an Environmental Justice Policy Statement.