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The Environmental Protection Agency is the main government entity responsible for driving guidelines for toxic agents and pollutants. The EPA has created guidelines such as the Clean Air Act (1970) and Clean Water Act (1972), aimed to protect individuals from harmful pollutants. Title VI (1973) is meant to prevent EPA funds from “subsidiz[ing] discrimination.” However, the EPA has dismissed many of the complaints submitted under Title VI. One investigation found that more than half of the complaints from 1996-2015 were dismissed while only 5% were accepted. A 2011 report concluded that the EPA “has not adequately adjudicated Title VI complaints.” In 2020, more than 77 million people in the U.S. were drinking unsafe water by EPA standards, frequently contaminated by chemicals with harmful impacts on reproductive health, including PFAS, lead, and arsenic. While, in theory, the legal system is a potential avenue for challenging environmental and reproductive injustice, recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions hinder our ability to use the justice system for reform. In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Court overturned a long-standing precedent holding that rights to abortion are protected by the Constitution. And in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, the Court limited the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gasses. Both the lack of accountability within the EPA and the conservative make-up of the Supreme Court speak to ways in which the legal system can and does hinder environmental and reproductive justice alike. 

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