cover of book

Justice and Natural Resources: Concepts, Strategies, and Applications
edited by Kathryn Mutz, Gary Bryner and Douglas Kenney
foreword by Gerald Torres
Island Press, 2001
eISBN: 978-1-59726-247-7 | Paper: 978-1-55963-898-2 | Cloth: 978-1-55963-897-5
Library of Congress Classification GE220.J87 2002
Dewey Decimal Classification 333.7


Just over two decades ago, research findings that environmentally hazardous facilities were more likely to be sited near poor and minority communities gave rise to the environmental justice movement. Yet inequitable distribution of the burdens of industrial facilities and pollution is only half of the problem; poor and minority communities are often denied the benefits of natural resources and can suffer disproportionate harm from decisions about their management and use.

Justice and Natural Resources is the first book devoted to exploring the concept of environmental justice in the realm of natural resources. Contributors consider how decisions about the management and use of natural resources can exacerbate social injustice and the problems of disadvantaged communities. Looking at issues that are predominantly rural and western -- many of them involving Indian reservations, public lands, and resource development activities -- it offers a new and more expansive view of environmental justice.

The book begins by delineating the key conceptual dimensions of environmental justice in the natural resource arena. Following the conceptual chapters are contributions that examine the application of environmental justice in natural resource decision-making. Chapters examine:

  • how natural resource management can affect a range of stakeholders quite differently, distributing benefits to some and burdens to others

  • the potential for using civil rights laws to address damage to natural and cultural resources

  • the unique status of Native American environmental justice claims

  • parallels between domestic and international environmental justice

  • how authority under existing environmental law can be used by Federal regulators and communities to address a broad spectrum of environmental justice concerns

Justice and Natural Resources offers a concise overview of the field of environmental justice and a set of frameworks for understanding it. It expands the previously urban and industrial scope of the movement to include distribution of the burdens and access to the benefits of natural resources, broadening environmental justice to a truly nationwide concern.

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