Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice and Communities of Color

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In 1978, in the rural hamlet of Triana, Alabama, populated almost entirely by African Americans, massive levels of DDT were discovered in the creek where its citizens fished, and in those citizens' blood. Triana, dubbed "the unhealthiest town in America," embarked on a quest to fix responsibility for the pollution and to seek legal redress. Triana's story has been repeated in different forms all over America - in Louisiana's petrochemical corridor, known as "Cancer Alley"; in riot-torn South Central Los Angeles, ...
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Overview

In 1978, in the rural hamlet of Triana, Alabama, populated almost entirely by African Americans, massive levels of DDT were discovered in the creek where its citizens fished, and in those citizens' blood. Triana, dubbed "the unhealthiest town in America," embarked on a quest to fix responsibility for the pollution and to seek legal redress. Triana's story has been repeated in different forms all over America - in Louisiana's petrochemical corridor, known as "Cancer Alley"; in riot-torn South Central Los Angeles, the environmentally "dirtiest" zip code in California; on Native American reservations burdened with waste disposal sites and coal-fired power plants; and in urban neighborhoods from Brooklyn to Chicago's South Side to the barrios of East L.A., surrounded by decaying industries and often targeted for toxic dumps, landfills, and incinerators. All of these places are inhabited largely by people of color and are experiencing unequal protection under the environmental law of the land. This important book, compiled by a national leader in the fight for environmental justice, shows in case after case how environmental laws have been inconsistently applied, so that people of color suffer disproportionately from public health hazards. It describes how abuses have flourished for lack of government action and organized resistance, and documents the strategies and struggles of grassroots groups now building coalitions among community activists and traditional environmentalists. Tracing the cutting edge of social change, Unequal Protection clearly shows that environmentalism and the movement for social justice - long on separate tracks - are converging. Environmental justice is moving to the political center stage as legislation such as NAFTA and the Environmental Justice Act (first co-sponsored by then-Senator Al Gore) come before Congress. Unequal Protection grew out of the landmark First People of Color Environmental Summit in 1992. Its contributors include jour

Essays contributed by participants in the 1991 First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit chronicle the struggles of communities of color from all over the U.S. and the actions needed to restore their safety and health. Editor Robert Bullard served on the Clinton Administration's environmental transition team.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A 1987 study by the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice concluded that hazardous waste disposal is more often inflicted on black residential communities than on others. Bullard, sociology professor at UC Riverside, helped organize the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991. An outgrowth of that meeting, these essays are contributed by lawyers, journalists, academics and grassroots leaders. They give compelling evidence that environmental disparities between white communities and those of color reflect enormous social inequalities; that these disparities have been created, tolerated and institutionalized by all levels of government. Several essays cite such hazardous locations as West Dallas, Tex.; Triana, Ala.; Chicago's South Side, Ill.; and Vernon, Calif. (the ``dirtiest zip code''). Other pieces focus on grassroots activism, networking and building a coalition. This collection is forceful and challenging and should be required reading for state and national policymakers. (May)
Booknews
Sixteen contributions show how environmental laws have been inconsistently applied, so that low-income communities and people of color suffer disproportionately from public health hazards. The essays describe how abuses have flourished for lack of government action and organized resistance, and document the strategies of grassroots groups on building coalitions among traditional environmentalists and social justice groups. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871563804
  • Publisher: Sierra Club Books
  • Publication date: 2/7/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 Environmental Justice for All 3
2 Crisis at Indian Creek 23
3 PCBs and Warren County 43
4 Black, Brown, Red, and Poisoned 53
5 Living on a Superfund Site in Texarkana 77
6 West Dallas versus the Lead Smelter 92
7 Coping with Poisons in Cancer Alley 110
8 Impacts of the Energy Industry on the Navajo and Hopi 130
9 California's Endangered Communities of Color 155
10 Building a Net That Works: SWOP 191
11 Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles 207
12 Mothers of East Los Angeles Strike Back 220
13 PUEBLO Fights Lead Poisoning 234
14 Women of Color on the Front Line 256
15 The People of Color Environmental Summit 272
16 A Call for Justice and Equal Environmental Protection 298
Notes 321
About the Contributors 357
Selected Bibliography 362
Index 377
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