Events that address critical issues confronting society in pursuit of environmental balance, economic vitality & social justice.
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The UCI Law Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources (CLEANR) and UCI Newkirk Center for Science & Society welcome Jill Harrison, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder.

In this presentation, Harrison will present key findings from her book, From the Inside Out, which lifts the veil on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental regulatory agencies to offer new insights into why they fail to reduce harmful toxics and other hazards in our nation’s most environmentally overburdened and vulnerable communities. In it, she examines environmental regulatory agencies’ “environmental justice” (EJ) programs and policies as a case through which to understand why, despite reducing air and water pollution for the nation overall, government has not protected the communities who suffer the most. Other scholars have shown that budget cuts, industry pressure, regulatory authority, and other factors outside the control of agency staff constrain the possibilities for EJ reforms to regulatory practice. Harrison’s research shows that agencies’ EJ efforts are also undermined by elements of regulatory workplace culture — particularly colorblind notions of racial fairness that circulate within these agencies and the nation overall. Through extensive interviews with and observations of staff at numerous environmental regulatory agencies across the United States, Harrison shows that agencies’ EJ efforts are undermined by everyday ways in which well-meaning staff dedicated to environmental regulation reject EJ reforms as violating what they think their organization does and should do. She will also identify several ways in which environmental regulatory agency investments into EJ policies, programs, and practices have changed in recent years, and what are some important areas that require empirical investigation.

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