Hum Bio & CSRE 141
RACE,  POVERTY AND ENVIRONMENT

Armin Rosencranz (armin@stanford)                               Office hours: Tu, Th 10-noon (381e)
Tel 5-9704 or 7-1133 (calls or email always welcome)     Spring, 2000
 
 

A. Overview

The goal of this course is to enable class members to make the connection between race/poverty and environmental conditions, and to bring both a theoretical and practical perspective to the topic of environmental justice.  We will look at empirical evidence of environmental injustice
and hear stories of those victimized by the disproportionate distribution of environmental harms. We will try to identify the causes of these conditions and the barriers to remediating them.  We
will explore how the courts, legislative bodies, executive agencies, public interest organizations,
community groups and their lawyers have responded to the problem.  We will try to become informed participants in this dialog and contribute to knowledge on the subject.

Lawyers and scientists have a residual role in all this.  A community may have been fighting environmental burdens for decades and decide to get legal help as a last straw.  They may have neglected to get legal help while the polluter was going through the permitting process and seek help only after the permit has been granted.  They may seek legal help after seeing an onslaught of unusual diseases or a high rate of illness or mortality after years of a hazardous waste facilityÕs operations. Scientists help lawyers and activists interpret scientific and health data.  Everyone needs to understand how civil rights laws apply to the question of disproportionate impacts on poor and minority communities.

B. Course Requirements

For this seminar to work, everyone must come to class prepared. If you find the readings long and sometimes repetitive, skim what you already know and concentrate on what is new.  Working in teams, each class member will be responsible for one of the courseÕs 8 units (weeks 3 to 10).  This means working collaboratively to identify unsettled or problem envir justice areas in the materials or in everyday life.  You should prepare an overhead or power point presentation together with a set of discussion questions and/or a simulation.  Everyone needs to speak up, question our guests and offer personal viewpoints, however tentative.  DonÕt dominate, and donÕt let others dominate either!  And donÕt let yourself be intimidated by the instructor!

The research paper guidelines will be in the course reader, available Monday, 4/3, from Lia in bldg 80.  At the final class meeting, everyone will present the main findings and conclusions of his/her research papers.  Class members will write two research papers of about 2,000 words each, excluding footnotes.  Each paper will count for 25% of the grade. All members will participate in a one hour, student-led weekly discussion group.    Presentation and participation will count for 30%, and a concluding take-home problem-set will count for 20%.
C. Weekly Schedule

3/28 & 3/30 1. Introduction to Environmental Justice
  Foreman, The Perils and Promise of Environmental Justice

  2. Two Introductory Case Studies:
4/4  Bayview-HunterÕs Point Power Plant and
4/6  Lower Fox River (to explore subsistence fishing)
  CONFERENCES WITH ARMIN ABOUT PAPER TOPICS

4/11 & 4/13 3. Reviewing the Evidence of Disproportionate Impact

4/18 & 4/20 4. Siting of Polluting Facilities

4/25 & 4/27 5. Litigation Approaches (light reading)
  FIRST PAPER DUE

5/2 & 5/4 6. Title VI Cases: Shintech, Select Steel and Chester
  FIRST PAPER CONFERENCES

  7. Race, Poverty and Health:
5/9  Cancer Clusters and Lead
5/11  Methyl BromideÕs Effects on Farm Workers

5/16 & 5/18 8. The Federal Effort: EPAÕs EJ Program and Pres. ClintonÕs E.O. 12898
  (light reading)   SECOND PAPER DUE

5/21  INFORMAL GATHERING AT YOST TO SHARE RESEARCH FINDINGS

5/23 & 5/25 9. EJ Aspects of EPAÕs Brownfields Remediation
  SECOND PAPER CONFERENCES

5/30  10. Dilemmas (Campo Indian Landfill) and Solutions