Houston Case Study

    Many of the other case studies deal with one major issue such as whether to construct given factory or waste facility. The Houston materials, however, concern a number of issues, individual events, and controversies.

    Bullard's works recount the reasons why and how environmental injustice is so great in Houston. In addition to racism and the relative economic power of whites over Blacks, Bullard believes that Houston's having no zoning law contributed to environmental injustice. Robert D. Bullard, Dumping in Dixie at 40 (Westview Press, Inc. 1990). Rather than having a central city plan, Houston's "landscape has been shaped by haphazard and irrational land-use planning, a pattern characterized by excessive infrastructure chaos."  Id. at 40-41. Bullard also notes the strong statistical correlation between the neighborhoods that bear the burdens of pollution and the ethnic composition of those communities. Robert D. Bullard, Invisible Houston: The Black Experience in Boom and Bust at 68 (Tex. A& M Univ. Press 1987). Moreover, Bullard argues that trash dumping programs hurt a disproportionately high number of African-American neighborhoods. Robert D. Bullard, Environmental Racism and "Invisible" Communities, 96 W. Va. L. Rev. 1037, 1039 (1994).

    The Been article briefly discusses Bullard's work. Vicki Been, Market Dynamics and the Siting of LULUS: Ouestions to Raise in the Classroom about ExistinQ Research, 96 W. Va. L. Rev. 1069, 1076-1077. While Been doesn't refute Bullard's data, she criticizes that he has not determined whether businesses and governments specifically targeted neighborhoods inhabited by the poor and minorities whether these groups moved to these areas because they could afford nothing better. Id.

    Recent newspaper articles discuss additional environmental justice issues in Houston. The Dawson article discusses current environmental problems in specific poor and minority Houston communities and what citizens are doing to promote environmental justice. Bill Dawson, Communities in Industrial Sections of Houston Gra-p-ple with Pollution with Varyincr Success. One Such Effort in Manchester Makes Sure Cor-porate Neicrhbors Hear the Citizenry, Houston Chronicle, Aug. 3, 1997, at Al. The Byars article also discusses specific environmental burdens that certain communities bear and how these groups have reacted. Carlos Byars, A Lot to Com,plain A-bout; Two Groups Take Gri-pes to City; Residents Protest Over Allecredly Slow Neighborhood Cleanuip, Houston Chronicle, July 23, 1997, at A22.

    As I noted above, there is no single event around which the Houston case study is based. There is no one "story" in this case study. Rather, Houston has seen its share of "smaller" stories, including Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management Corp., which held that a plaintiff must show more than a disparate impact to win an equal protection environmental justice claim. Bean v. Southwestern Waste ManacTement Corp., 482 F. Supp. 673 (S.D. Tex. 1979), aff'd, 782 F. 2d 1038 (5th Cir. 1986). While this type of case study is not as specific as some of the others, perhaps the class may benefit from having a broader, general study in addition to the more specific topics.