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The Wrong Complexion for ProtectionHow the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities$
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Robert D. Bullard and Beverly Wright

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814799932

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814799932.001.0001

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The Wrong Complexion for Protection

The Wrong Complexion for Protection

Response to Toxic Contamination

(p.100) 5. The Wrong Complexion for Protection
The Wrong Complexion for Protection

Robert D. Bullard

Beverly Wright

NYU Press

This chapter examines the government's response to toxic contamination in African American communities and the health consequences for the residents of those communities. It begins with an overview of the federal Superfund program, created in 1980 when Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), which allowed the federal government to respond to releases or potential releases of hazardous wastes that might harm people or the environment. It then considers the legacy of unequal protection in the Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement of its Superfund laws, increasing the risk for African Americans and other communities of color. It also presents case studies that highlight environmental racism and slow government response to disasters that threaten the health and welfare of African Americans in the Deep South.

Keywords:   toxic contamination, Superfund program, CERCLA, hazardous wastes, unequal protection, Environmental Protection Agency, African Americans, environmental racism, government response, Deep South

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