Environmental Injustice In Flint, Michigan

Satisfactory Essays
Environmental injustice in Flint, Michigan

Issue: Contaminated water ( lead poisoning

“Environmental racism is real…so real that even having the facts, having the documentation and having the information has never been enough to provide equal protection for people of color and poor people” “It takes longer for the response and it takes longer for the recovery in communities of color and low-income communities.” (Bullard, 1994:36)

Background/details of crisis:

57% of residents are black, low economic status, 40% below poverty line
Complaints about contaminated water ignored ( govt response is significantly slower to disasters which affect communities of colour
Environmental racism? – unequal protection

Crisis was avoidable – $100/day
…show more content…
River water corrodes city’s pipes – widespread exposure
Govt failed to act on complaints for 18 months
Doctors revealed dangerous levels of lead in children’s blood – residents effectively being poisoned
March 2016 – independent panel found fault at every level of govt – criminally negligent
Dan Kildee – calls race the ‘single greatest determinant of what happened in flint’
Minorities must be offered a seat at the table

Historical/social/political context?
Historical trend of environmental racism throughout the US
1966 – 2.2 million gallons of waste/day dumped into Flint River
December 1966 EPA study showed water quality in Flint to be poor
December 1992 – Genesee Power Station built beside poor black community in Flint
Class and race issue – systemic neglect, deliberate the residents of Flint have faced a disproportionate environmental burden

Maldistribution – marginalised peoples get more environmental bads, less protection
What would ‘justice’ look like?
Distributive, processes, procedure, participation
Consider process and
…show more content…
Respect and recognition? – beyond Rawls
‘Fair’ treatment, equal protection, meaningful participation in neutral forms, honour human dignity
Bullard – 5 principles towards environmental justice: “guaranteeing the right to environmental protection, preventing harm before it occurs, shifting the burden of proof to the polluters, obviating proof of intent to discriminate, and redressing existing
Get Access