2023 article

A Community-Engaged Oral History Study as a Tool for Understanding Environmental Justice Aspects of Human Exposures to Hazardous Waste Thermal Treatment Emissions in Colfax, LA

Odera, M., Kelley, B., Rivers III, L., Wilson, A., Tran, J., Patel, K., … Richmond-Bryant, J. (2023, October 18). ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE.

By: M. Odera n, B. Kelley, L. Rivers III, A. Wilson n, J. Tran n, K. Patel n, B. Vallee, W. Subra* ...

author keywords: environmental justice; thermal treatment; air pollution; oral history
Source: Web Of Science
Added: December 18, 2023

This study investigates environmental justice (EJ) themes related to siting a hazardous waste thermal treatment facility near a low-income community of color. We investigated effects of living near a hazardous waste thermal treatment facility through three EJ aspects: recognitional, procedural, and distributive justice. The study involved the collection of oral history interviews from residents of Colfax, a town in Grant Parish, Louisiana, that hosts an open burn/open detonation hazardous waste thermal treatment facility. The facility processes materials such as munitions, theme park waste, and contaminated soils from Superfund sites, and it increased its volume drastically in 2014. Residents reported adverse health conditions and exposure to air pollutants. We analyzed how the three themes of EJ emerged from the interviews using the NVivo coding software. We recorded narratives that described substantial changes around people's identity, health, and social experiences after the facility's increase in operations. Residents described a peaceful and clean community before the facility's construction in 1980. Some residents stated that the community had not been consulted when the facility was established or when its operations were increased. Colfax residents' narratives jointly relay a proud history of community connections and homeownership that was undermined by environmental health hazards created by the facility and by their exclusion from local and state government decisions about the facility's placement.