Shrader-Frechette book examines environmental justice

by William G. Gilroy

Oxford University Press has published “Environmental Justice ? Creating Equity, Reclaiming Democracy” by Kristin Shrader-Frechette, a Notre Dame professor and pioneering leader in the fields of quantitative risk assessment and environmental ethics.p. Observing that environmental activists often value environmental concerns over basic human rights, Shrader-Frechette points out in her book the importance of recognizing that minority groups and the poor in general are frequently the biggest victims of environmental degradation. She notes that this phenomenon has serious social and political implications that the environmental movement has failed to address. She argues for equal rights to “environmental justice” for minority groups and the poor and maintains that they should not have to bear most of the weight of the burdens of pollution and resource depletion.p. Throughout her career, Shrader-Frechette has been critical of both environmentalists and corporate America.p. Working with local community members, she and her students helped prevent a multinational corporation, associated with Louisiana Energy Services, from obtaining an operating license for a uranium enrichment plant near the African-American community of Homer, La. The case is regarded as the first major victory against environmental racism in the United States.p. She also has testified on behalf of an aluminum company charged by the Environmental Protection Agency with the entire cost of cleaning up a toxic landfill. Another company had deposited the hazardous waste, yet the aluminum company was being required to clean up the site simply because it could afford to do so.p. The O’Neill Family Professor of Philosophy and concurrent professor of biological sciences, Shrader-Frechette also is a fellow of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. She joined the University’s faculty in 1998 after serving as a distinguished research professor at the University of South Florida. She also held senior professorships at the University of California and the University of Florida. An award-winning teacher as well as a researcher, she has published more than 280 articles and 14 books or monographs that have been translated into 11 languages.p. Most of Shrader-Frechette’s work is in the philosophy of science, environmental ethics, probabilistic risk assessment and science policy. The U.S. National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities have continuously funded her research since 1982.p. She was graduated from Edgecliff College of Xavier University with a degree in mathematics in 1967 and earned her doctorate in philosophy of science from Notre Dame in 1972. She has done post-doctoral work in ecology, economics and hydrogeology.p.

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