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Failed PromisesEvaluating the Federal Government's Response to Environmental Justice$
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David M. Konisky

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028837

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028837.001.0001

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The Federal Government’s Response to Environmental Inequality

The Federal Government’s Response to Environmental Inequality

(p.29) 2 The Federal Government’s Response to Environmental Inequality
Failed Promises

David M. Konisky

The MIT Press

Chapter 2 provides a historical overview of the political, social, and academic roots of the federal government’s environmental justice policy activities. The chapter begins with the case of the controversial siting of a PCBs disposal facility in Warren County, North Carolina, and then describes the research and events that occurred over the subsequent decade to bring the environmental justice issue to the national agenda. The chapter next describes the main initiatives pursued by the federal government in response, including the creation of the Office of Environmental Justice within the EPA, the establishment of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, and, most importantly, the signing of Executive Order 12898 by President Clinton in 1994. The chapter also reviews the limited amount of past research evaluating federal efforts to address environmental inequities, and describes policy efforts during the Obama Administration to renew attention to environmental justice through Plan EJ 2014. The overall purpose of the chapter is to establish the context for the empirical chapters that follow.

Keywords:   Environmental justice, Inequality, Warren County, North Carolina, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States, Environmental justice movement, Policy reforms, Executive Order 12898, Policy evaluation, Plan EJ 2014

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