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5 Tul. Envtl. L.J. 153 (1991-1992)
Environmental Racism: The Causes, Consequences, and Commendations

handle is hein.journals/tulev5 and id is 159 raw text is: ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM: THE CAUSES,
CONSEQUENCES, AND COMMENDATIONS
KELLY MICHELE COLQUETTE AND
ELIZABETH A. HENRY ROBERTSON*
I. INTRODUCTION
In 1940, American companies produced one billion pounds
of hazardous and toxic chemicals.1 By 1987, this figure had
multiplied to over 220 billion pounds.2 People regularly encoun-
ter these poisonous chemicals in the environment, the work-
place, and in the products they consume. In fact, [ilt is likely
that every single individual in the United States today has been
exposed to a chemical that poses some predictable risk to well-
being.3
As long as consumers continue to demand products con-
taining a wide array of environmentally destructive chemi-
cals,4 and industry continues to use these toxic chemicals, with
no incentive to do otherwise, facilities that regularly use toxic
materials and produce hazardous wastes will continue to be con-
structed.5 Consequently, deciding where to site facilities that
treat, store, and dispose of these hazardous wastes poses a grave
dilemma to the nation.
Because these facilities present dangers to health and have a
detrimental impact on the quality of life, they are shunned by
most communities. Louis Gibbs, the leader of the struggle at
Love Canal in New York and the present director of the Citizens
Clearinghouse for Hazardous Wastes once characterized the
nation's attitude toward hazardous wastes as 'out of sight, out of
mind.' ,,6 According to Charles Lee, the Director of Research
* Members of the Texas Bar; J.D., Tulane University, 1991.
1. Gary Cohen, It's Too Easy Being Green. The Gains and Losses of Earth Day, Soc.
POL'Y, Summer 1990, at 21, 23.
2. Id.
3. CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION AND ITS VICTIMS: MEDICAL REMEDIES, LEGAL
REMEDIES, AND PUBLIC POLICY 3 (David W. Schnare & Martin T. Kutzman eds., 1989)
[hereinafter CHEMICAL CONTAMINATION AND ITS VICTIMS].
4. Cohen, supra note 1, at 23.
5. Id.
6. Charles Lee, The Integrity of Justice: Evidence of Environmental Racism,
SOJOURNERS, Feb.-Mar. 1990, at 22, 24.

153

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