Environmental Justice Risks in the Petroleum Industry
22 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2011
Date Written: July 21, 2011
In practically all of its various forms, petroleum is potentially hazardous to the environment. As a result, virtually every activity engaged in by the petroleum industry can have profound environmental implications. For many years, environmental considerations have played a role in decisions regarding the siting of petroleum production, refining, or storage facilities. Recent case law and regulatory developments in "environmental justice," however, assure that environmental considerations that affect minority communities will play an increasingly critical economic role in both the permitting process and, perhaps most importantly, the permit renewal process. This article discusses the recent developments, suggests preventive management techniques to deal with the new challenges, and proposes a better process of environmental justice to order to benefit minority populations living near the sites. The article will accomplish this by addressing the legal and regulatory environmental barriers to the petroleum site permitting and renewal process, reviewing the Environmental Protection Agency's "environmental justice" compliance guidance, and suggesting pre-permit management techniques to educate citizens of the affected community so as to minimize the hidden contingent costs of "environmental justice" complaints.
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