Environmental Justice: The Classics

Letter with U.S. General Accounting Office letterhead to Rep. James J. Florio and Congressional delegate Walter E. Fauntroy with number B-211461. "By letter dated December 16, 1982, you requested us to determine the correlation between the location of hazardous waste landfills and the racial and economic status of the surrounding communities...."The late 1970's through the early 1990's saw activism, litigation, and scholarship turning towards what we now think of as the Environmental Justice movement. Outrage over the placement of a PCB landfill in Warren County, North Carolina led to a 1983 US government report, Siting of Hazardous Waste Landfills..., which examined the placement in poor Black areas of this and three other toxic waste landfills in the southeastern United States. 

"Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States" UCC report cover includes a map of the lower forty-eight states some counties, mostly across the southern US, highlighted in pink and red.This was followed in 1987 by a national-scale study, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States, a report by the Commission for Racial Justice of the United Church of Christ.

During this time period, sociologist Dr. Robert Bullard was publishing research on race and the environment. His most famous work was Dumping in Dixie, whose first edition came out in 1990. 

1991 saw the First National People of Color Environmental Summit. And by the 2000's, various forums made clear that opening environmental justice work to climate change analysis and action would be key.