New England Environmental Justice Research Project

Research Associates

  • Daniel Faber, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Northeastern University
  • Eric Krieg, Department of Sociology, Buffalo State University
  • Corey Denenberg Dehner, Law, Policy, and Society Program, Northeastern University
  • Neenah Estrella-Luna, Law, Policy, and Society Program, Northeastern University

Mission

The New England Environmental Justice Research Project is devoted to investigating social disparities in the production and distribution of ecological problems and human health hazards in the New England region. The project is also focused on finding policy solutions to environmental injustices, as well as improving environmental laws, permitting, zoning, and enforcement practices. Environmentally hazardous waste sites and pollution causing industrial facilities are disproportionately located in communities of color and lower-income communities, according to “Unequal Exposure to Ecological Hazards 2005:” Environmental Injustices in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a report by NEJRC Associates Daniel R. Faber and Eric J. Krieg. The study finds that “in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts minority populations live each day with substantially greater risk of exposure to environmental health hazards than white communities,” and “have worsened in recent years.

A person living in a community of color is now 39 times more likely to live in one of the 30 most environmentally-burdened communities in the state.” The report is the first to provide a method for ranking the environmental burden of communities in the state utilizing the 2000 Census, as well as the first to measure cumulative exposure to environmental hazards of all kinds in Massachusetts. Faber and Krieg have published the report a special issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, a prestigious publication by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Dr. Faber has been invited to give presentations before the Environmental Protection Agency, a Massachusetts Legislative hearing, the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at Umass-Lowell, MIT, and Tufts University. The Executive Office of Environmental Affairs adopted an EJ policy in 2002. The legislature has also been using the report to draft a more permanent form of environmental justice legislation (SB2418). Dr. Faber was the featured speaker in a legislative briefing held July 14, 2004, and recently testified before the legislature in support of the legislation. Dr. Faber has given two presentations at the Environmental Protection Agency – Region One before the agency’s senior management and entire staff, and to the Boston Bar Association. In addition, Faber and Krieg’s research was presented as the lead article in a special collection of the October-November 2004 issue of Environmental Impact Assessment Review, which included some of the leading scholars around the precautionary principle and the science of risk assessment. Faber was also a plenary speaker at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NHIES) annual grantee meeting of the environmental justice and community-based participatory research program in July of 2003 in Philadelphia.

Neenah Estrella-Luna is also investigating the phenomenon of agency empathy in the environmental permitting process in Massachusetts. This research seeks to determine whether and how the law dictates the structure of the relationships between decision makers and stakeholders and how those relationships shape the outcomes in the permitting process. There are three key questions that animate this research: does agency empathy exist? If so, to what extent does it influence routine permitting decisions? Also, what substantive changes in the law are needed to integrate and institutionalize an equitable structure of interaction among all stakeholders in the permitting process? In addition, Estrella-Luna has been actively involved in helping to develop legislation that will incorporate public health impact assessments within the environmental permitting process.

Publications

  • Daniel Faber, The Proposed Brockton Power Plant: Environmental Disparities in Brockton, MA, produced by the Northeastern Environmental Justice Research Collaborative, Northeastern University, Boston, MA (March 27, 2008).
    For the full report, please download: Brockton Power Plant Report
  • Daniel Faber, “A More ‘Productive’ Environmental Justice Politics: Movement Alliances in Massachusetts for Clean Production and Regional Equity,” in Ron Sandler and Phaedra Pezzullo (eds.), Environmental Justice and Environmentalism: The Social Justice Challenge to the Environmental Movement (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007).
    For the full report please download: Faber__A_More_Productive_EJ_Politics.pdf
  • Daniel Faber, Penn Loh, and James Jennings, “Solving Environmental Injustices in Massachusetts: Forging Greater Community Participation in the Planning Process” Projections: MIT Journal of Planning, No.3 (2002): 109-132.
  • Daniel Faber and Eric Krieg, “Unequal Exposure to Ecological Hazards: Environmental Injustices in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” in “Advancing Environmental Justice through Community-Based Participatory Research,” a special issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol.110, (Supplement 2) (April 2002): 277-288.
  • Daniel Faber and Eric Krieg, Unequal Exposure to Ecological Hazards 2005: Environmental Injustices in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, produced by the Philanthropy and Environmental Justice Research Project, Northeastern University, Boston, MA (October 12, 2005).
  • Daniel Faber, The Proposed TBI, Inc., Recycling Facility and Solid Waste Transfer Station: A Report on Environmental Disparities in North Andover and the Merrimack Valley, produced by the Philanthropy and Environmental Justice Research Project, Northeastern University, Boston, MA (October 27, 2005).
    For the full report, please download: N.Andover_Ej_Assessment.pdf
  • Daniel Faber, The Nickel Hill Energy Project: An Analysis of Environmental Injustices in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts, produced by the Green Justice Research Collaborative, Northeastern University (May 9, 2001).
  • Daniel Faber and Eric Krieg, Unequal Exposure to Ecological Hazards: Environmental Injustices in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, produced by the Philanthropy and Environmental Justice Research Project, Northeastern University, Boston, MA (January 9, 2001).
  • Neighborhood Pesticide Action Committee (NPAC). Inner-city Pesticide Use As an Environmental Injustice. Jamaica Plain, MA: 2009. Full text.