Environmental Justice & EJ Law In OregonROBERT WILLIAM COLLIN, SENIOR RESEARCH SCHOLAR, CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES &
What is Environmental Justice? The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines EJ as follows: "Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work."
People of color –African American,Native Americanand Latino --aremore exposed totoxins andhazardoussubstances in theenvironment It will be achieved when everyone enjoyswhere they live, the same degree of protection fromwork, play and environmental and health hazards andlearn. equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work."
What characteristic predicts exposures to toxic waste andIs it Race? pollution? 1. Race/ethnicity - even whenOr income numerous potentially relevantOr property variables are included, strongvalues positive association with environmental quality.Or geology 2. Income – mixedOr . . . . 3. Poverty - strong positive between unemployment and pollution 4. Political Mobilization - consistent relationship; owner occupied especially.
Cerrell & Associates 1984 California Waste Management Board commissioned a study on how to site waste incinerators – called Political Difficulties Facing Waste to Energy Plant Siting by Cerrell Associates aka Cerrell Report. The consultants suggested targeting small rural communities whose residents are low income, older people, or people with a high school education or less, communities with a high proportion of Catholic residents and communities who engage in extractive industries such as agriculture, mining, and forestry. Ideally, “officials and companies should look for lower socioeconomic neighborhoods that are also in a heavy industrial area with little if any commercial activity.”
“ fair treatmentand meaningfulinvolvement of allpeople regardlessof race, color,national origin, orincome withrespect to thedevelopment,implementation,and enforcementof environmentallaws, regulations,and policies” If you’re not at the table, you’re probably the meal.
Conclusion of Studies of Waste Streams RACIAL BIASES IN THE DISTRIBUTION AND DENSITY OF TOXIC RELEASE INVENTORY FACILITIES Even controlling for other factors, African American and Hispanic residential areas are more likely to be exposed to environmental risks. .
Cancer by Race from Environmental Stressors For person of color risk of cancer is almost 1 in 3, including hispanic people For Anglos that risk is about 1 in 7
Latinos and Air Pollution 66 % of Latinos (25.6 Asthma contributes to more million people)live in areas emergency room visits and that do not meet the federal hospitalizations for government’s air quality respiratory conditions. standards Pregnant women and NYC, San Diego, South children most vulnerable to Phoenix, Chicago – Latino’s air pollutants– increases in areas with air pollution risks of complications, and high asthma rates; premature birth, low birth sometime 4 times the rate, and cardiac defects in national average and babies. sometimes the demographic Air pollution can worsen group hit the hardest lung cancer, allergeries, and (NYC). bronchitis.
Latinos and Safe Drinking Water Colonias along the US California officials have Mexico border lack potable closed about 800 wells water and adequate waste because of high levels of water treatment –leading to nitrates waterborne diseases like Nitrates come from giardiasis, hepatitis, and pesticides, feces, and animal cholera. manure) Arizona’ Maricopa County Nitrogen interferes with and much of Southern blood’s ability to carry California (heavily Latino) oxygen to the brain, can be take drinking water from fatal to infants. the Colorado River which is contaminated with perchlorate, linked to thyroid and cancer.
Latinos and Pesticide Exposures at Work Latino farmworker in General health impacts of California had a 59 – 69 exposure are skin rashes, % greater risk of stomach, burning eyes, cough, cervical, and uterine nausea, vomiting, cancer, and some diarrhea, and difficulty leukemias, compared with breathing. other Latinos in California. US Dept of Labor – water for washing is unavailable in 16 % of the fields
Latinos and Mercury Exposure Main exposure routes are Released into air by power through fish, cosmetics, and plants and chemical cultural ceremonies. (Santeria companies, falls into the water – sometimes sprinkles as a metal, working its way Mercury) through the ecosystem until it Very few warnings on any of accumulates in fish. these exposure vectors in Spanish regarding dangers of Mercury exposure. Mercury accumulates in the body. Can affect the brain of developing fetus in pregnant mother. Latino children generally, have higher Mercury levels than Whites.
Latino Children and Lead Poisoning Latino children in general In children, lead exposure are twice as likely as non can cause neurological Latino White children to problems even in tiny does. have blood Lead levels Associated with decline in above the threshold IQ and learning disabilities, established by the Centers hyperactivity, violence, and for Disease Control for risk an increase in anti social of lead poisoning. behavior. In Arizona in 2002 77 % of Sources, lead paint, lead children diagnosed with glazed pottery, traditional lead poisoning were Latino, remedies as greta and they make up 25.3 % of the azarcon, lead in land, air, population then. and/or water.
Asthma and Children of ColorAsthma strikesAfrican-American andLatino youth moreoften and muchharder.
Farmworkers Large issue in Oregon; 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides for $4.6 billion per year in US 600 active chemical ingredients combined with others to form about 35,000 different chemical formulations 313,000 US farmworkers suffer from exposure related illnesses; 800 - 1000 die.
Fish Most studies of fish consumption overlook subsistence fishers; Different amounts of fish; plus different consumption patterns (often culturally based) yield larger exposure vectors for certain populations because fish are highly contaminated.
Foundational Federal Law In 1994 President Clinton signed Executive Order 12898, charging all federal agencies with integrating environmental justice concerns into their operations.
EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 12898 FEDERAL ACTIONS TO ADDRESS ENVIRONMENTALJUSTICE IN MINORITY POPULATIONS AND LOW-INCOME POPULATIONSEach Federal agency shall conduct its programs,policies, and activities that substantially affecthuman health or the environment, in a manner that ensures that such programs, policies, and activities do not have the effect of excluding persons . . . from participation in, denying persons . . . the benefits of, or subjecting persons . . . to discrimination under, such programs, policies, and activities, because of their race, color, or national origin.
Executive Order 13166, "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited EnglishThe Executive Order requires Federalagencies to examine the services theyprovide, identify any need for services tothose with limited English proficiency(LEP), and develop and implement asystem to provide those services so LEPpersons can have meaningful access tothem.
Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act Recipients of federal funding may not discriminate on the basis of race. No requirement to prove intentional discrimination; Disparate or disproportional impact by race is required. DOJ’s Title VI implementing regulations prohibit not only intentional discrimination but also facially-neutral practices that have a discriminatory impact. The “failure to ensure that LEP persons can effectively participate in or benefit from Federally assisted programs and activities” may constitute national origin discrimination. Remedies are loss of federal funds.
All Oregonians have a voice inEnvironmental policies that affect wherethey live, work, recreate and worship.The Task force was created by thelegislature to safeguard all Oregonians.
SB 420: It’sThe Law Oregon SB 420 created the Environmental Justice Task Force, to ensure environmental justice for all Oregonians.
Oregon Environmental Justice Defined Environmental justice is equal protection from environmental and health hazards, and meaningful public participation in decisions that affect the environment in which people live, work, learn, practice spirituality and play.
Environmental Justice Defined in OregonEnvironmental justice is equal protection from environmental and health hazards, and meaningful public participation in decisions that affect the environment in which people live, work, learn, practice spirituality and play.
National Award Winner, 2010EPA is pleased to recognize the Oregon Environmental Justice TaskForce for effective implementation of the State’s environmental justicelegislation and its ability to incorporate environmental justiceconsiderations into State agencies’ programs.The Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force has achieved severalsignificant milestones, including unprecedented cooperation and relationship-building between Task Force members and Oregon state agency representatives; the creation of a “Your Voice for Environmental Justice” document outlining citizens’ rights to be involved in decisions that affect their quality of life;http://www.epa.gov/compliance/ej/resources/publications/awards/2010/oejtf.pdf
Cultural Competency: New Legislation Monday April 25, 2011the Oregon Senate passed Senate Bill 97, which directs the Oregon Health Authority and 18 health professional regulatory boards to develop guidelines and standards for providing culturally competent care to minority groups. It now moves to the House for consideration.
Go towww.scorecard.orgType in your zip code to discover what toxic emissions occur in your zip code
New Coalitions Many Separate Paths to Justice: Housing, Education, Employment , SpiritualityONE ENVIRONMENT
“truth crushed to earth will rise again.” “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”What we have done to the People of the Earth, we have done to the Earth, but the Earth doesn’t lie. People do.
Find Out MoreAmerica’s Migrant Farmworkers, National Center for Farmworker Health www.ncfh.org/.Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes www.chej.org.Collin, Robert William. Environmental Justice in Oregon: It’s The Law, online at http:// legacy.lclark.edu/org/envtl/objects/38-2_Collin.pdf.…….BATTLEGROUND:ENVIRONMENT(Greenwood Press 2008)…….and Collin, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SUSTAINABILITY (ABC –Clio Press 2010).……."Environmental Equity: A Law and Planning Approach to Environmental Racism" University of Virginia Environmental Law Review, Vol. 11, No. 4, summer 1992. Reprinted in "Law and the Environment" edited by Robert V. Percival & Dorothy C. Alevizatos (Temple University Press Philadelphia).…….. "Where Did All The Blue Skies Go? Sustainability and Equity:" with Robin Morris Collin, 10 Journal of Environmental Law and Litigation, winter 1995.………and Collin. Sustainability and Environmental Justice: Is the Future Clean and Black?” Environmental Law Reporter June 2001.Environmental Justice for All: A 50 State Survey – www.uchastings.edu/site_files/plri/ EJ2007.pdf.
More Environmental Justice ResourcesFish Advisories - www.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/advisories. or for state information - http://.epa.gov/waterscience/fish/promo.Indigenous Environmental Network – www.ienearth.org/.Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides - http://www.pesticide.org.Oregon Toxics Alliance - http://www.oregontoxics.org/.Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force website: http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/ GNRO/environmental_justice.shtml.Pineros y Campesinos Unidas del Noreste, Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United – www.pcun.org.TRI - TOXICS RELEASE INVENTORY - go to www.scorecard.org. type in a zip code per their instructions and discover what toxic emissions occur in that zip code..