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From Love Canal to Environmental Justice

From Love Canal to Environmental Justice: The Politics of Hazardous Waste on the Canada - U.S. Border

Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 239
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  • Book Info
    From Love Canal to Environmental Justice
    Book Description:

    Tracing the history of environmental policy and politics from the seminal moments of 1978 at Love Canal to current disputes, this in-depth study offers a cross-border analysis of the modern environmental movement.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0225-0
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. 7-10)
  4. Preface
    (pp. 11-20)
  5. List of Acronyms
    (pp. 21-22)
  6. List of Figures
    (pp. 23-24)
  7. List of Tables
    (pp. 25-26)
  8. Introduction From Toronto to Kirkland Lake?
    (pp. 27-34)

    Toronto is in the midst of a municipal garbage crisis that has many parallels with the hazardous waste disputes reviewed in this book; the problem has been a long time in the making. The projected 2002 closure of the Keele Valley landfill and the booming population growth in southern Ontario provided clear evidence that a new waste management policy was necessary. Throughout the 1990s, the Metropolitan Toronto council (consisting of the City of Toronto and six regional municipalities) made it a priority to accomplish this with a new landfill, preferably with a location geographically distant from the population and the...


    • Hazardous Waste and Environmental Justice [Introduction]
      (pp. 35-38)

      This first section of the book introduces three broad themes that are critical to understanding the connections between hazardous waste and environmental justice. Chapter 1 examines North American hazardous waste policies and their connections to the history of Love Canal. When the Love Canal crisis emerged in 1978, Congress had recently enacted a new hazardous waste law that had yet to be implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This inaction changed quickly when the controversy prompted the agency to develop regulations pursuant to the new statute. This was the beginning of what are now known as cradle-to-grave management systems...

    • 1 Love Canal and Hazardous Waste Policy
      (pp. 39-68)

      North American governmental involvement in hazardous waste management begins with the enactment, implementation, and enforcement of highly complex statutes and regulations operating at both the federal and provincial/state levels. These laws and policies impose a number of requirements on industries that generate hazardous waste as well as on those in the business of waste treatment, storage, and disposal (TSD). They apply to virtually all aspects of waste management from cradle to grave, beginning with the point at which it is generated and ending with its ultimate fate in a hazardous waste management facility.

      Toxic waste programs define hazardous waste in...

    • 2 Environment and Social Justice
      (pp. 69-92)

      The struggle for environmental equity and justice has emerged from a combination of local activism and academic research in the context of the environmental justice movement. It has become a strong political force in the United States, arising out of grassroots struggles over hazardous waste sites, especially in African American and other marginalized communities. Much of this activism and research has focused on the distributional and procedural equity considerations of hazardous waste management. The United States government has attempted to meet these demands by creating an Office of Environmental Justice within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a National Environmental...

    • 3 Environmental Justice and “Industrial Ecology”
      (pp. 93-122)

      Hazardous waste management is a complex and multi-dimensional problem, as indicated by the regulatory frameworks described in Chapter 1 and their social justice implications illustrated in Chapter 2. Distributive equity, though it is not entirely representative of the connections between hazardous waste and environmental justice, is an important aspect of the overall problem. The social, spatial, and temporal array of hazardous waste facilities and their associated benefits and burdens, described conceptually in Chapters 1 and 2, set much of the context for how and why communities and groups react to siting proposals. This chapter reviews, in detail, the findings of...


    • The Niagara Region, Detroit, and Sarnia [Introduction]
      (pp. 123-128)

      The Great Lakes Region on the Canada-United States border is a highly industrial area encompassing one province (Ontario) and eight states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) as shown in Figure 12 (see p. 124). According to the International Joint Commission (IJC, 1994), there are 4,503 hazardous waste sites in the region, 98 per cent (4,421) of which are located in the United States, 2 per cent (82) of which are located in Canada, and 94 per cent (4,249) of which are closed and no longer accepting new waste (see Figure 13, p. 130). I conducted...

    • 4 The Niagara Region
      (pp. 129-162)

      The Niagara Region on the Canada-United States border has been the setting for a number of extraordinary industrial-environmental conflicts, particularly with respect to hazardous waste. As discussed in Chapter 2, the Love Canal contamination in Niagara Falls, New York transformed the way North Americans think about hazardous waste and forced major environmental policy changes. But Love Canal is by no means the only hazardous waste issue facing the Niagara region. This is especially true of the New York side of the border area which has been dominated by chemical sector production and waste disposal dating back to large wartime efforts...

    • 5 Detroit and Sarnia
      (pp. 163-190)

      The Detroit and Sarnia areas lie on the Michigan-Ontario border between the southern end of Lake Huron and the mouth of Lake Erie (see Figure 12). The Detroit metropolitan area includes the City of Detroit and also Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties. The area is located in the southeastern portion of the State of Michigan. Sarnia is part of Lambton County and is located in the southwestern part of the Province of Ontario. Both communities are heavily industrialized, with metals processing and auto industries in Detroit and petrochemical plants in the Sarnia area. Poor air and water quality have long...


    • Environmental Justice and Hazardous Waste [Introduction]
      (pp. 191-194)

      The facility siting disputes reviewed in Part II reveal a fundamental contradiction in hazardous waste policy between capacity assurance objectives and pollution prevention initiatives. The environmental justice implications of hazardous waste play out in locational conflicts in ways relating not only to community concerns about equity, but also to broader policy questions about whether to regulate disposal methods only or to regulate production by requiring specific reductions in waste generation. Off-site disposal fulfils an industry need and thus benefits the same corporations that generate waste, while communities that serve as hosts for proposed new sites are asked to receive the...

    • 6 Towards Environmental Justice and Hazardous Waste
      (pp. 195-212)

      I have attempted to demonstrate that hazardous waste presents many difficulties to society, particularly in communities with actual or planned hazardous waste facilities, and that differing concepts of fairness are central to the disputes that often arise. The environmental justice implications of facility siting heighten the controversies by adding debates about equity and justice to the complexities of how and where best to deal with industrial wastes. Distributive and procedural justice concerns about hazardous waste facilities came through to some degree in all of the facility siting cases reviewed in Part II. The particular details of each related most especially...

  12. 7 Conclusion
    (pp. 213-222)

    The environmental justice implications of hazardous waste involve a number of distributive and procedural factors that are complex and interrelated. Since the discovery of toxic contamination at Love Canal in Niagara Falls, New York, North Americans have become increasingly sensitized to the risks associated with toxic substances and wastes. Twenty-five years after the event, the anti-toxics movement has combined forces with an environmental justice movement to respond to inequities in exposure to pollution, especially those related to race and class.

    Environmental policies have developed and changed dramatically during this period. In the United States and Canada, hazardous waste laws and...

  13. References
    (pp. 223-236)
  14. Index
    (pp. 237-239)