Chris Foreman

Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

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Chris Foreman is a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution where he was a full-time member of the Governance Studies staff for over a decade. He is also director of the social policy program at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy where he writes and teaches about the politics of national domestic policy and inequality.

Chris Foreman is best known in environmental circles for his landmark Brookings book The Promise and Peril of Environmental Justice in which he discusses the achievements, prospects and pitfalls associated with addressing environmental inequalities. Foreman followed his 1998 book with several essays and dozens of presentations including testimony before the United States Commission on Civil Rights. Foreman argues that while environmental equity is now a key aspect of our dialogue about environmental policy, advocacy on its behalf remains deeply problematic, regularly captive of rhetorical and coalitional imperatives that undermine pursuit of a realistic and focused policy agenda. Foreman has also published books about congressional oversight of regulatory policy and policymaking for emergent public health hazards. From 1999 to 2005 he served on the board of governors of The Nature Conservancy.

Chris Foreman In the News

Hoppy Kercheval, "Radicals’ latest mantra is ‘climate justice,’" May 13, 2013

Ronald Bailey, "'Climate Justice' Is Largely Just A Progressive Plot Against Capitalism," April 29, 2013


Publications By Chris Foreman


The Promise and Peril of Environmental Justice (Brookings 1998)





Plagues, Products, and Politics: Emergent Public Health Hazards and National Policymaking (Brookings 1994)




Signals from the Hill: Congressional Oversight and the Challenge of Social Regulation (Yale 1989)







"On Justice Movements," Breakthrough Journal, Issue 3 (Winter 2013). 


"Ambition, Necessity, and Polarization in the Obama Domestic Agenda," in Bert A. Rockman, Andrew Rudalvige and Colin Campbell, eds., The Obama Presidency: Appraisals and Prospects (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2012), pp. 244-267.


"Political and Policy Limitations of Environmental Justice," excerpt reprinted in Glenn Adelson, James Engell, Brent Ranalli and K.P. Van Anglen, eds., Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008), pp. 770-773.


"The Braking of the President: Shifting Context and the Bush Domestic Agenda," in Colin Campbell, Bert A. Rockman and Andrew Rudalevige, eds., The George W. Bush Legacy (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2008), pp. 265-287.


"Comment" on Barbara Sinclair's "Spoiling the Sausages? How a Polarized Congress Deliberates and Legislates"in Pietro S. Nivola and David W. Brady, eds., Red and Blue Nation – Volume Two: Consequences and Correction of America’s Polarized Politics. (Stanford, CA and Washington, DC: Hoover Institution and Brookings Institution, 2008), pp. 88-93.


"Institutions," excerpt reprinted in William D. Marelich and Jeff S. Erger, eds., The Social Psychology of Health: Essays and Readings (Thousand Oaks and London: Sage Publications, 2004), pp. 275-285.


"Three Political Problems for Environmental Justice," in Gerald R. Visgilio and Diana M. Whitelaw, eds., Our Backyard: A Quest for Environmental Justice (Lanhteam, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), pp. 181-191.


"The Civic Sustainability of Reform," in Donald F. Kettl, ed., Environmental Governance: A Report on the Next Generation of Environmental Policy (Brookings Institution Press, 2002), pp. 146-176.


"Environmental Justice: Policy Challenges and Public History," with Martin V. Melosi in Martin V. Melosi and Philip Scarpino, eds., Public History and the Environment (Krieger Publishing Company, 2004), 227-250.