Environmental Injustice in America's States
In Chapter 4 we outlined our explanatory concepts, their measures, the hypotheses we would test, and our method of analysis. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the environmental injustice thesis as it applies to U.S. states. We begin by articulating the environmental hazards we plan to study.
The dependent variable is varying degrees of environmental hazards. Insofar as possible, we sought to replicate the environmental harms used in other environmental equity and racism research. For example, air quality has been a closely studied subject in this literature. Indeed, this harm was almost the exclusive focus of study prior to 1980 (e.g., Asch and Seneca, 1978; Berry, 1977; Burch, 1976; Freeman, 1972; Gianessi, Peskin, and Wolfe, 1979; Handy, 1977; Harrison, 1975; Kruvant, 1975; McCaull, 1976). This tradition has continued, as some ( Allen, Lester, and Hill, 1995) studied hazardous chemicals and carcinogens discharged to the atmosphere; others ( Cutter, 1994; Lester, Allen, and Lauer, 1994) studied airborne toxins; and some ( Lester and Allen, 1996) have investigated so-called bad air days in forty- eight of the largest cities in the United States (see also Shaikh and Loomis, 1998, investigating stationary air sources). Thus, there is a long tradition of determining the environmental injustice dimension of air pollution.
Other literature has focused on aspects of hazardous waste. Indeed, one of the major events that put environmental justice on the national agenda was the U.S. General Accounting Office ( 1983) study and the subsequent United Church of Christ ( 1987) report on hazardous waste. Subsequent to these two studies, other scholars studied various aspects of hazardous waste