Environmental Justice and Federalism

Environmental Justice and Federalism

Dennis C. Cory, Tauhidur Rahman, Satheesh Aradhyula, Melissa Anne Burns and Miles H. Kiger

The authors discuss two case studies in their investigation of the complex interactions between environmental justice and government. These analyses offer a comprehensive view of both the siting and regulation of polluting activities, as well as a discussion of the effects on major natural resources such as clean air and drinking water. In each case, the authors both describe current government responses to the problem and offer specific recommendations regarding what actions should be taken in the future.

Chapter 3: Clean air, EJ, and facility siting in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area

Dennis C. Cory, Tauhidur Rahman, Satheesh Aradhyula, Melissa Anne Burns and Miles H. Kiger

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics, environmental law, environmental politics and policy, law - academic, environmental law, human rights, politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, human rights


As in virtually all large urbanized areas in the US, air quality in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area (PMA) is largely determined by the mix of six common pollutants in the atmosphere: ground-level ozone, particulates, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and lead. Air pollution is a mixture of these contaminants and is a major environmental risk to health (see Table 3.1).1 Ground-level ozone results from a chemical reaction between pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the presence of heat and sunlight. Exhaust from vehicles, industrial emissions, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are major sources of nitrogen oxides and VOCs. Ozone (O3) is a major constituent in smog. Particulates, or particulate matter (PM), include dust, soot, dirt, smoke, and liquid droplets suspended in air. Some particulates occur naturally, originating from volcanoes, dust storms, forest and grassland fires; others are manmade, originating as a result of human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles, power plants, various industrial processes, fertilizer production and livestock operations.2 Carbon mon- oxide is a colorless, odorless gas generated from vehicle exhaust, wood burning, forest fires, and manufacturing processes. Nitrogen oxides are a group of highly reactive gases. Of particular concern is nitrogen dioxide

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