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The purpose of this Article is to explore the distributional side of environmental protection and, more particularly, to explain the significance of including environmental justice concerns into the fashioning of environmental protection policy. Unlike earlier legal commentary, hazardous waste facility siting is not this Article's dominant focus. It offers a broader, more systemic, examination of environmental protection laws and policies. The Article is divided into three parts. First, it describes the nature of the problem. This includes a discussion of the varied distributional implications of environmental protection laws, as well as the ways in which racial minorities could receive too few of the benefits, or too many of the burdens, associated with those laws. The second part of the Article accepts (without purporting to verify) the thesis that distributional inequities exist, and seeks to explain such inequities theoretically in terms of the present institutional framework for the fashioning of environmental protection policy and the probable distributional implications of that framework. The final part of the Article outlines how environmental justice concerns might be pursued within present and future environmental protection law and policy.

Publication Citation

87 Nw. U. L. Rev. 787-857 (1993)