- Slides: 30
• Environmental Health Ethics and Justice
Environmental Health Ethics and Justice • • • • Lecture Outline Definitions of ethics and Env’l justice EPA /Env’l justice Fair treatment, meaningful involvement EPA Region 6 Office of Env’al Justice (OEJ) 1994 President Clinton Executive Order Tulane Case Study: Florida Community Site A Louisiana Community Site B Policy Determination Env’tal justice Decision Making Matrix Conclusions Site A was relocated Site B was not relocated
1994 Executive order • Things regarding environmental justice and ethics have been changing especially with the signing of 1994 executive order by President Bill Clinton: • *“prohibiting discriminatory practices in any programs receiving federal financial assistance. For the first time, Federal agencies must consider the racial and socioeconomic characteristics of a community prior to launching a new project or issuing new rules” • *Bullard, Robert, D. 1994, Overcoming racism in Environmental Decision making”, Environment, 36, no. 4 (May)
Definitions* * Ambient, rsmas. miami. edu/groups/niehs • Ethics can be defined as “The study of reasons why specific actions are good or bad, right or wrong, praiseworthy or blameworthy. • Environmental Health Ethics: it applies ethical reasoning to environmental health concerns and examines the moral responsibility for the environment; air, water, food and soil contamination with chemical and biological agents.
Environmental Health Ethics • Human activities might cause environmental health concerns. • Ethical questions and controversies might arise from these concerns
Areas of Ethical Concerns • 1 - Air Pollution: – Can we balance the health risks and the benefits of air pollution problems. – Can we deal with the politics and identify who is responsible for health effects of air pollutants. – Can we deal with unequal exposure of communities to air pollutants.
Areas of Ethical Concerns 2 - Water 1. It is unethical not to provide clean water for all 7 billion people. 2. Why not to provide equal quantities of water to all. 3. Why water borne diseases are controlled in certain populations and still a major cause of death in others. . 4. Owner ship of upstream and down stream waters (Nile)
Areas of Ethical Concerns • 3 - Pesticides We use pesticides to control the weeds, insects and diseases to protect our crops and increase the yield. This is on the expense of exposing people to the millions of tons of pesticides released in the environment Why ban the use of cancer causing chemicals in certain countries and allow the use of the same chemicals to be used in others.
Areas of Ethical Concerns • 4 - Wars – Can we resolve our differences without going to war. ? – The use of certain weapons can destroy the environment and the Public Health for many years. (Regional conflicts on oil reserves).
Areas of Ethical Concerns • 5 - Research Ethics Is it Ethical to use humans and animal in research?
Areas of Ethical Concerns • 6 - Fossil Fuels and Climate Change – How can we justify the use of fossil fuels to achieve short time gains and not to focus on the chronic effects such as toxicity and climate change
Areas of Ethical Concerns 7 - Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) - - can we accept to copyright living material - can we prevent GMO’s from being used as new weapons against each others
Areas of Ethical Concerns • 8 - The use and the proximity of power plants, industrial plants • Location , fence line communities – Disposal of toxic waste
Environmental Justice* www. epa. gov/swerosps/ej • EPA defines environmental justice as the • “fair treatment for all people of all races, cultures, and incomes, regarding the development of environmental laws, regulations, and policies”
USEPA/Environmental Justice(conti. ) EPA-Environmental %20 Justice. htm/Junec 27 th, 2004 • Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
Environmental Justice • Fair treatment means that no group of people, including a racial, ethnic, or a socioeconomic group, should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial operations or the execution of federal, state, local, and tribal programs and policies.
Environmental Justice • Meaningful involvement means that: • (1) potentially affected community residents have an appropriate opportunity to participate in decisions about a proposed activity that will affect their environment and/or health; example: proposed plastic industry in Louisiana.
Environmental Justice • (2) the public's contribution can influence the regulatory agency's decision/Public Hearing /Example : the VA Medical center in New Orleans • (3) the concerns of all participants involved will be considered in the decision making process; and • (4) the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.
Environmental Justice • In sum, environmental justice and ethics are the goal to be achieved for all. • Environmental justice is achieved when everyone, regardless of race, culture, or income, enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decisionmaking process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work
EPA/Region 6 FY 2003 Environmental Justice Action Plan 9/30/2002 • EPA Region 6 Action Plan States that: • Environmental justice refers to the pledge or assurance that no population will endure a disproportionate share of the country’s pollution. • It is reported that minority and low income communities are exposed to more pollutants than the general population.
EPA Region 6 Action Plan • Therefore, the EPA office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) developed a an action plan in 2003 , to find solutions to environmental and health problems that might effect all Americans, especially minority and/or low income populations who may be impacted.
EPA Region 6 Action Plan • The plan is implemented through partnership with communities, (LAOPH) governments, academia, industry and business. • EPA Office of Environmental Justice will attempt to educate all parties to be involved to achieve living in a clean and safe environment.
EPA Region 6 Action Plan • It is believed that environmental equity has been abused by many industries by locating their facilities close to minority populations. • Minority and/or low income populations are believed to be disproportionately exposed to several environmental contaminants including hazardous waste, air pollutants and agricultural pesticides
Case Study Environmental Justice and Ethics Impact on Environmental Policy Decision Making and Public Health. This study was conducted by Kimberly M. Gallo, Sc. D department of Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
• : • “Given two parishes, “site A” in Florida and “site B” in Louisiana) with similar public health risks and environmental concerns;
Study Site Selection Site A (Florida) Site B (Louisiana) 75% White, 23% Black 31. 6 Years (Median Age) 18. 5% of Persons Below Poverty Level 76. 6% White, 20% Black 39 Years (Median Age) 17% of Persons Below Poverty Level 29 TRI* Facilities (13, 472, 000 Pounds) 12 TRI* Facilities (39, 900, 000 Pounds) 7 NPL Sites 2 NPL* Sites • • *Toxics Release Inventory * National Priority List
Steps Followed • Compared Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) facilities, • National Priorities List (NPL) sites with demographic characteristics of populations near industrial facilities,
Scientific Determinations • Selection of Contaminants of Concern – EPA Group A , Carcinogens • Arsenic • Benzene • 1, 2 Dichloroethane (EDC) • Dioxin/Furans • Polycyclic Aromatic Compounds (PACs) • Vinyl Chloride
Conclusions • Environmental Justice outcomes in the study areas were not based on Public Health and Public Policy, but on the Basis of the Political Climate at the Time of Decision Making • Analysis Shows that siting in proximity to an NPL or Industrial Facility is Based on Socioeconomical Status more than Race
Conclusions • Examining Regulatory Path – Site A • Significant was the political climate existing at the time of relocation. – Site B • Not a logical basis for relocation when combining the political and scientific factors existing for this site