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Rationality, inequity, and civic vitality: The distribution of treatment, storage, and disposal facilities in the southeast

Citation: Society & Natural Resources, 2008, 21, 3, 179-196

This study examines the distribution of commercial treatment, storage, and disposal facilities (TSDFs) of hazardous waste in the southeast. Four hypotheses are tested: (1) economic rationality, (2) social inequity, (3) civic capital, and (4) scientific rationality. The data set is a match of records on operational TSDFs and large quantity generators (LQGs) of hazardous waste from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau, nonprofit organization data from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, and seismic hazard and hydrologic data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Logistic regression results indicate that location outcomes are predictable by the distribution of civic capital assets, the racial composition of a community, the hydrologic suitability of a land use, and TSDF proximity to LQGs. The concentration of LQG activity and the percentage of African Americans in a neighborhood are the most consistent predictors of TSDF location outcomes across spatial measures of risk.

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