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23 Ariz. L. Rev. 1283 (1981)
At the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima Or Why Political Questions Are Not All Economic

handle is hein.journals/arz23 and id is 1299 raw text is: AT THE SHRINE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA or
Mark Sagoff*
Lewiston, New York, a well-to-do community near Buffalo, is the
site of the Lake Ontario Ordinance Works, where years ago the federal
government disposed of the residues of the Manhattan Project. These
radioactive wastes are buried but are not forgotten by the residents who
say that when the wind is southerly, radon gas blows through the town.
Several parents at a recent Lewiston conference I attended described
their terror on learning that cases of leukemia had been found among
area children. They feared for their own lives as well. On the other
side of the table, officials from New York State and from local corpora-
tions replied that these fears were ungrounded. People who smoke,
they said, take greater risks than people who live close to waste disposal
sites. One speaker talked in terms of rational methodologies of deci-
sionmaking. This aggravated the parents' rage and frustration.
The speaker suggested that the townspeople, were they to make
their decision in a free market and if they knew the scientific facts,
would choose to live near the hazardous waste facility. He told me
later they were irrational---neurotic-because they refused to recog-
nize or to act upon their own interests. The residents of Lewiston were
unimpressed with his analysis of their willingness to pay to avoid this
risk or that. They did not see what risk-benefit analysis had to do with
the issues they raised.
If you take the Military Highway (as I did) from Buffalo to Lewis-
* Research Associate, Center for Philosophy and Public Policy and Center for Environ-
mental and Estuarine Studies (Horn Point Laboratories), University of Maryland. A.B. 1963,
Harvard College; Ph.D. 1970, University of Rochester. Work on this Article was supported by the
National Science Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities, Grant No. OSS
8018096. Views expressed are the author's, not necessarily those of the NSF or NEH. The author
is grateful for criticism received from colleagues, especially David Luban.

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