Matthew Rowe, Assistant Professor of Practice, and his co-author, Judson B. Finley (Utah State University), have contributed to a recently published edited volume titled Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene: From (Un)Just Presents to Just Futures (Routledge). The pair’s contribution is Chapter 19: Enhancing Environmental and Cultural Justice Outcomes Under the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. The chapter abstract is below; read the book description, see the table of contents, and order a copy on the Routledge website.
Chapter Abstract: Few studies link environmental and cultural justice. The USEPA reviews projects for environmental justice concerns to ensure underrepresented communities are not bearing an undue burden, but no process exists to evaluate cultural justice concerns. Cultural and environmental justice are inseparable issues linked in both the legal mechanisms protecting environmental and cultural resources and the potential for underrepresented communities to bear significant loss and potential erasure from the historic record. We use three case studies, the Tongue River Railroad Expansion, the Sarpy Mine Expansion, and the Dakota Access Pipeline Project to illustrate how variability in consultation under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) contributes to justice successes and failures. These case studies illustrate that the connection between environmental and cultural justice is particularly important for Native Americans because of the density of energy resources within reservation boundaries and the historic power imbalance between federal agencies and tribal governments. This is a common conflict for Indigenous communities worldwide. We recommend the USEPA adopt a definition of cultural justice similar to that for environmental justice and agencies adopt shared, enforceable guidelines for meaningful consultation and incorporate a review process for consultation practices during impact assessments.
Anthro News Digest date: 07/16/2021