Finally, state legislation could be enacted to address potential problems of environmental injustice, but this legislation needs to carefully consider the exact nature of the problem in a specific geographic area before the policies are finally designed. In other words, it is essential that the driving force behind legislation be addressed and carefully considered so that the remedy is based on an understanding of the problem and that the policy that is delivered is both equitable and efficient. This legislation could potentially be based on race, class, or politics as the driving force; alternatively, it could be based on the severity of the health risks presented by various toxins.
In Chapter 10, we return to precisely this point and base our policy recommendations on a rational understanding of the problem as well as the utilization of equity and efficiency as key criteria for evaluating the most desirable policy.
In this chapter, we have discussed federal and state initiatives in the area of environmental justice and identified some of the potential problems therein. In Chapter 10, we suggest several alternative policy designs for both the federal government and the states to consider and evaluate as they design legislation to remedy this public policy problem. In doing so, we offer a policy recommendation to decisionmakers based on our analyses in Chapters 5-7, as well as the analyses of other scholars who have preceded us.