Identifier

etd-04022015-121416

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Sciences

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

The environmental justice movement has made progress toward unveiling environmental inequalities and addressing these inequalities through the empowerment of low-income and minority communities. Federal agencies like the EPA have incorporated environmental justice principles into their operating frameworks, with the goals of ensuring every community is treated similarly when it comes to the implementation of environmental statutes, and ensuring community members are active participants in environmental activities that affect community well-being. Community involvement at federal Superfund sites is rarely conceptualized as an event related to environmental justice despite the role it has in shaping decisions at hazardous waste sites. This study assesses community involvement across 32 Superfund sites in the EPA’s 6th region, in light of these environmental justice commitments. Multinomial logistic regression and case studies addressed the following questions: are minority and low income communities less likely to be involved with Superfund site remediation and what other factors explain variation in community involvement? Two case studies addressed outcomes associated with high community involvement and specific site dynamics that emerged in order to gauge how meaningful involvement was at these sites. The results showed no clear evidence of disparities in involvement among minority and low income communities, although urban areas were found to be significantly associated with higher levels of community involvement. The case studies demonstrated that while involvement in superfund remediation is solicited by EPA officials, communication issues and lack of representation of all community interests lend themselves to controversial cleanups and dissatisfied sectors of the community.

Date

2015

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Secure the entire work for patent and/or proprietary purposes for a period of one year. Student has submitted appropriate documentation which states: During this period the copyright owner also agrees not to exercise her/his ownership rights, including public use in works, without prior authorization from LSU. At the end of the one year period, either we or LSU may request an automatic extension for one additional year. At the end of the one year secure period (or its extension, if such is requested), the work will be released for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Reams, Margaret

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