This paper unpacks the environmental justice concerns of rural migrants in relation to land tenure and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) processes. We explore the “geography of recognition”, whereby sense of community, identity and place interact to produce unequal experiences of recognitional justice in relation to the EIA process. We develop our argument by using qualitative research and a village case study in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, involving transmigrant communities and indigenous Kutai people. This study highlights how a failure to recognize transmigrants’ identity creates barriers to their meaningful participation in the EIA. Structural flaws in the decentralized land-use system mean a failure to address the contested claims for recognition and land rights between transmigrant and indigenous communities, which in turn fuels social and environmental conflict. Resolving land tenure conflicts requires the empowerment of socially marginalized groups in the decision-making over land-use projects affecting them.