Environmental policy and equity: The case of superfund
This article analyzes the equity implications of the EPA's Superfund program by examining the geographic distribution of sites, who pays for cleanup, and cleanup pace. Although the “polluter pays” principle is used to justify Superfund policy, it is a goal that is not-and indeed usually cannot-be attained for past contamination. Further, the geographic distribution of Superfund sites suggests that the likely beneficiaries of program expenditures live in counties that are on average both wealthier and more highly educated than the rest, and also have lower rates of poverty. The pace of the EPA's cleanups, however, depends mostly on the sites' potential hazard, and is not apparently motivated by the localities' socioeconomic characteristics or political representation. The program is found in several respects to be both inefficient and inequitable, yet Superfund enjoys considerable support for reasons beyond these traditional public policy goals, including its political and symbolic appeal.
Volume (Year): 12 (1993)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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- Kohlhase, Janet E., 1991. "The impact of toxic waste sites on housing values," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-26, July.