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Hot spots regulation and environmental justice

Turaga, Rama Mohana R., Noonan, Douglas, Bostrom, Ann
Ecological economics 2011 v.70 no.7 pp. 1395-1405
air pollution, economic costs, issues and policy, models, risk, social justice, toxicity, Florida
This paper analyzes whether regulating “hot spots” of toxic air pollution by increasing the spatial resolution of regulation could address environmental justice (EJ) concerns. To examine this question, this paper develops a decision model of a regulator choosing emission controls within a net cost minimizing framework. An empirical application of the model using air toxic emission data for Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties in Florida estimates the emission standards and spatial distribution of risks at a coarse and a finer spatial resolutions. Implications for EJ are analyzed by combining the simulated spatial risk distributions at the two resolutions with the demographic data. Results indicate that different measures of EJ point to different conclusions regarding the question of whether finer resolution regulation alleviates EJ concerns. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for EJ policy.