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Jarrell, Melissa L.
All the news thats fit to print? media reporting of environmental protection agency penalties assessed against the petroleum refining industry, 1997-2003
h [electronic resource] /
by Melissa L. Jarrell.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
b University of South Florida,
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2005.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
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Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 199 pages.
ABSTRACT: Although examination of the relationship between the media and crime has received considerable attention in the academic literature, only a few studies have examined news media coverage of environmental crimes. The present study examines print news media coverage of federal penalties assessed against the petroleum refining industry from 1997 to 2003. The Environmental Protection Agency initiated and/or settled 162 cases involving seventy-eight petroleum refining companies from 1997 to 2003. While a news search of the nations twenty-five largest newspapers produced seventy-four articles related to petroleum refining industry violations, only seventeen articles matched the EPA cases analyzed in the present study. The present study found that while there is a considerable amount of federal petroleum refining industry violations, only a few cases receive media attention.
Adviser: Dr. Michael J. Lynch.
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
All the News ThatÂ’s Fit to Print? Media Re porting of Environmental Protection Agency Penalties Assessed Against the Petroleum Refining Industry, 1997-2003 by Melissa L. Jarrell A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Criminology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: Michael J. Lynch, Ph.D. Tom Mieczkowski, Ph.D. Wilson Palacios, Ph.D. L. Donald Duke, Ph.D. Date of Approval: April 1, 2005 Keywords: environmental crime, EPA, ne ws reporting, oil indus try, corporate crime Copyright 2005 Melissa L. Jarrell
Dedication Throughout my twenty-some-odd years of schooling (including eleven arduous and fantastic years of college) I have received a great deal of positive commentary about my writing. Almost without exception though, each of my teachers in grade school and my professors throughout college would say things to me such as, Â“good job, but you might want to curtail the emotionÂ”, or Â“well done, although I am perplexed by the overabundance of made up wordsÂ”, or Â“nice work, however I cut out some of the dramatic editorializingÂ”. I understand w hy my good-intentioned mentors cautioned me about writing too passionately, especia lly in graduate school. Research is supposed to be objective and empirical. I get it but I am who I am. I feel very deeply, without apology, and it shows in my writi ng. I will always write and speak with fervent emotion and with an air of intensit y. My words shout not only to be heard but to mean something, to enter in to the hearts and minds of my audience to call them to action. I have learned to taper some of my enthusiasm and how to more eloquently, rarely than forcefully, state my point. But make no mistake, I will always write with passion and intensity. Thankfully my dissert ation dedication is mi ne alone to write and will receive no editing or restructuring. At last, my true voice can be heard! I am truly one of the luckiest people in the world. I have the most amazing support network of family, friends, and mentors. I donÂ’t know where to begin and even though I can finally write without fear of re prisal, I find myself at a loss of words (shocking, isnÂ’t it?). I am trul y blessed. Each of you must know that the words on this page cannot possibly do you just ice. What you mean to me transcends words. IÂ’ll do my best. This dissertation is dedicated to seven am azing people whom I cherish more than you will ever know. In loving memory of my grandfather (Poppa) and to my wonderful grandmother (Nana), for providing financ ial and emotional s upport throughout my cherished life. I know that my grandfather is looking down from heaven above and he is proud of me and all I have accomplished. When I was born, my grandparents established an educational tr ust fund so that my brothers and I would be able to pursue our educational endeavors unencumber ed my financial woes. As educators, they recognized the priceless value of education. I doubt I would have pursued my doctorate had they not unselfishly provided the means for me to obtain my degree. I have the deepest gratitude for their b oundless kindness, generosity, and love. To my father, my dad. I will always be your little girl. You ha ve no idea how much I admire you and respect you. Whenever I didnÂ’t know the answer to something (which was quite often) I would always say to myself or whomever was involved in the conversation, Â“IÂ’ll call my dad, heÂ’ll know the answerÂ”. Whether it was a mundane
question such as Â“how do I fix my toiletÂ” or Â“whatÂ’s the distance between Tampa and PhoenixÂ” or more important life questi ons such as Â“should I abandon my academic pursuits to play womenÂ’s professional f ootballÂ” or Â“why are you a RepublicanÂ”, my amazingly intelligent Dad always has the answ er and a brilliant one at that. My dad has also provided me with the financia l means to live comfortably throughout my college years. I am truly grateful. Severa l of my friends have received monetary support from their parents as well but they often complained that the support came with strings attached. I have never felt burdened or pressure d by my father. His support has been given freely and he never ma de me feel as if I owed him anything. Dad, I love you more than words can say. To my mother, my friend, my genetic tw in. I am proud to be your daughter and I cherish our similarities and even our differen ces (the few). Even when it seemed as if our close relationship was di sintegrating at times, we bot h had the faith and patience to listen to one another and to learn from one another. I believe that the motherdaughter bond is one of the most preci ous and one of the most precarious relationships in life. You ha ve always been an inspiration to me. I champion the downtrodden because you taught me to help those less fortunate than us. You have unselfishly given your time and energy to the dying, the homeless, the depressed, and the uneducated (dare I say, ignorant). You ha ve always listened to me and supported me, even if you didnÂ’t always agree with me. You have loved me unconditionally and have enriched my life in more ways than I can express. I love you, Mom. To Danielle, my long-distance partner in crime. Our friendship means the world to me and the miles have only increased our bond. Pursuing a doctoral degree is a unique and frightening endeavor that few are able to accomplish. Not many people understand what the process entails and what it demands of our physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual selves. Y ou do. Thank goddess for that! Together, we have embarked on this journey and w ill celebrate the culmination of our achievements. We may go about things differe ntly but ultimately we see injustice in the world and have decided that we will be the ones to make a difference. I do not believe you give yourself enough credit for be ing a wonderfully beautiful woman and friend. Danielle, I love you dearly and cannot wait to share our successes together. To Mike, my mentor and major professor. I have always had amazing female role models in my life but very few men have trul y inspired me. In fact, I can only think of two and the other one is my father. I donÂ’ t think you realize the impact you have had on my life. When I came to graduate school I was more confused than ever before about the world and my place in it. At fi rst, upon taking your Research Methods I course, I became even more confused. We spent the first few weeks discussing metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology. I reme mber thinking, Â“what is this shit?Â”. But I continued to listen. And with each lectur e in that course and in others, with each conversation, with each paper comment, I re alized that I was in the presence of a brilliant man. I am in awe of your knowledge and expertise. Your achievements are remarkable. Your guidance throughout my MA and Ph.D. has been invaluable. I consider myself lucky to have known you and to have learned from you. You have
given me limitless patience and advice. I will miss your presence in my life and hope that we do not lose touch. I can only hope to leave a research legacy such as you have. Mike, thank you for being the worldÂ’ s greatest mentor, for appreciating my quest for football greatness, and for not la ughing when I said I wanted to change the world. To Katie, my dearest friend and soul mate. A giant, glittering, sequin covered Â“thank youÂ”, complete with fireworks and a m illion voice chorus singing Â“The Wind Beneath My WingsÂ”. We have perfected the art of friendshi p and the craft of unconditional love. You have illuminated my life like no other. You amaze me and inspire me. No one knows me lik e you do. YouÂ’ve seen me at my best and also at my worst and loved me no matter what. All my life I have searched for a great love. I never imagined IÂ’d find it in the form of a 5Â’5 blue-eyed woman, but I did. (Eyebrows will certainly be raised at that one!) If I never meet the man of my dreams, it will not matter for I have now felt a love that is mo re beautiful and pure than I ever thought possible. We are dancing on the edge of a new beginning. I cannot wait to charter new paths with you. I love you, Katie.
Acknowledgements It is no exaggeration to say th at this dissertation could not have been written without the extraordinary support of many people. Throughout the past seven years at the University of South Florida, I have had th e opportunity to work with many wonderful people from the Department of Crim inology, Campus Recreation, Physical Education, and other university departments. Thank you to everyone at Campus Recreati on. I have thoroughly enjoyed working as the Aquatics Coordinator and appreciate the support of the entire staff but especially the administrative staff and my lifeguards. I want to acknowledge Renee Seay, Eric Hunter, April Lazenga, Jennifer Clark, a nd Cara Mackie for their support. The friendships I have made at Campus Recr eation are profound and I will greatly miss working with these amazing people. The members of the Department of Crim inology deserve a subs tantial amount of credit for my achievements. I especially want to thank my co mmittee members, Dr. Michael J. Lynch, Dr. Tom Mieczkowski, and Dr. Wilson Palacios, for their time and expertise. I also want to recognize Dr Max Bromley, a member of my thesis committee, for his continued and sincere in terest in my life over the past several years. I never actually took a class with Dr. John Cochran and I donÂ’t know that he has even read a word IÂ’ve ever written, but I genuinely valu ed his advice and guidance, especially throughout the job search and disserta tion processes. I owe a big thanks to Vicki Gojmerac and Lisa Landis for helping me with all the details of academic life. My profound appreciation for all those who have touched my life. Thank you for your ever-present support, nurturing, and l oving kindness. You will be missed.
i Table of Contents List of Tables vi Abstract viii Introduction 1 Chapter One Environmental Crime Introduction 5 Environmentalism in the United States 5 Waves of Concern 6 What is Environmental Crime and Injustice 8 Conceptualization of Environmental Crime and Injustice 9 Causes of Environmental Crime and Injustice 10 Impact of Environmental Crime and Injustice 11 Environmental Impact 12 Human Impact 13 Environmental Legislation 15 Problems with Environmental Law 16 Enforcement of Environmental Laws 17 Problems with Environmental Enforcement 18 Corporate and Political Responses to Environmental Crime and Justice Legislation 19 Environmental Crime and Criminology 21 Conclusion 23 Chapter Two The Mainstream Mass Media 24 Introduction 24 What is Mass Communication? 24 Historical Overview of Ma ss Communication in America 25 Mainstream Mass Media Versus Alternative Media 26 Pervasiveness of Media Expos ure in the United States 26 Factors Influencing Media Information 27 Media Ownership 27 Use of Authorities as Sources 29 Political and Social Impact of Mainstream Mass Media 29 Agenda-Setting 30 Conclusion 30
ii Chapter Three The Mainstream Mass Media and Crime 32 Introduction 32 The Mass Media and Street Crime 33 Sources of Information 34 Focus on Individual Violent Crim e and Neglect of Official Crime Data 35 Distortion of Victim and Offender Characteristics 36 Lack of Attention Given to So lutions or the Wrong Solutions 37 Creating Fear 38 In Support of the Powerful 39 The Mass Media and Corporate Crime 40 The Mass Media and the Environment 44 Radical Environmental Groups and the Media 46 Media Reporting of Environmental Crime 49 Problems with Reporting Environmental Risk, Harm, and Crime 50 Conclusion 51 Chapter Four The Petrol eum Refining Industry 54 Introduction 54 Current Status of the Petroleum Refining Industry 54 Environmental Hazards Associated w ith the Petroleum Refining Industry 56 Environmental Compliance 58 Petroleum Refining Industry Violations 60 Media Coverage of Petroleum Refining Industry Violations 61 Conclusion 62 Chapter Five Data and Methods 63 Research Questions 63 Data 64 Environmental Protection Agency 64 Compliance and Enforcement Data: ECHO 65 Company Information 67 Case Type 67 Voluntary Disclosure 67 Multi-Media 67 Case Status 68 Case Outcome 68 Number of Violations and Laws Violated 68 Federal Penalty Sought and Assessed, Compliance Amount, and SEP Amount 69 CAA, CWA, and RCRA Information 69 LEXISNEXIS News Information 70 Methods of Analysis 71 Study Limitations 74
iii Chapter Six Results 77 Introduction 77 Research Question #1 77 Company Information 77 Case Type 79 Voluntary Disclosure 79 Multi-Media 80 Case Status 80 Case Outcome 80 Number of Violations 80 Federal Penalty Sought and Assessed 81 Compliance Amount 83 SEP Amount 83 CAA, CWA, and RCRA Information 84 EPA Inspections 85 Enforcement Actions 85 Penalty Amounts 86 Significant Non-Compliance 88 Summary of Results for Research Question #1 89 Research Question #2 90 All News Articles on the Pe troleum Refining Industry 91 Case Specific News Articles on the Petroleum Refining Industry 93 ECHO Case Information and Corresponding Article Information 94 Clark Refining and Marketing Inc. 94 Conoco Inc. 95 Marathon Ashland 97 Motiva Enterprises 99 BP and Koch 100 Summary of Results for Research Question #2 102 Research Question #3 102 Initial Date of Case Filed by the EPA 103 Location of the Violating Refinery 104 Large Penalty Amounts 104 Refining Capacity 106 Summary of Results for Research Question #3 107 Research Question #4 108 Summary of Results for Research Question #4 113 Summary of Results 115 Chapter Seven Discussion 116 Research Question #1 116 Company Information 117 Refinery Location 118 Case Type 119 Voluntary Disclosure 120
iv EPA and State Inspections 121 Non-Compliance of CAA, CWA, and RCRA 122 Discussion Summary Research Question #1 122 Research Question #2 122 News Source 123 Article Location 124 Case Specific News Articles 125 Violations Committed 125 Environmental and Human Health Impacts 127 Actions Speak Louder Than Words 130 Company Portrayal 132 Evidence of Criminal or Negligent Activity 134 Discussion Summary Research Question #2 135 Key Findings from the Star-Telegram, 2004 136 Research Question #3 138 Initial Date of Case Filed by the EPA 138 Location of the Violating Refinery 139 Penalty Amounts 140 Refining Capacity 140 Discussion Summary Research Question #3 141 Research Question #4 141 Voluntary Disclosure 142 Number of Violations 142 Percent Minority, African-Ame rican, Hispanic, and Below Poverty 143 Supplemental Environmental Project Amount 143 Discussion Summary 144 Chapter Eight Conclusions 146 Challenges to Environmental Crime Research and Social Activism 146 Conceptualization of Crime 148 Corporate and Political Backlash 150 Suggestions for Environmental Legislation and Enforcement 151 Corporate and Environmental Crime Research 153 Environmental Crime Data 153 Current Environmental Crime Research 154 Future Environmental Crime Research 155 Environmental Crime Activism 157 Newsmaking Criminology 157 Environmental Education 160 A Social Justice Approach to D ealing with Environmental Crime 161 CitizenÂ’s Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste 162 The Time is Now 163
v References 166 Appendix A 184 About the Author End Page
vi List of Tables Table 1 Major Federal Environmental Le gislation Enacted During the 1970s 16 Table 2 Top U.S. Petroleum Companies, 2002 56 Table 3 Petroleum Industry TRI Information, 1993 59 Table 4 Companies with Three or more EPA cases in 2001-2002 78 Table 5 Companies with Two EPA cases in 2001-2002 78 Table 6 Location of Violat ing Facility by State 79 Table 7 Case Outcomes with Fr equencies and Percentages 80 Table 8 Number of Violati ons per Facility with Frequencies and Percentages 81 Table 9 Frequency and Percent of E nvironmental Statute Violations 81 Table 10 Penalty Amount Sought By the EPA by Dollar Range 82 Table 11 Penalty Amount Assessed By the EPA by Dollar Range 82 Table 12 CAA, CWA, and RCRA Major Permits 2003-2004 85 Table 13 CAA, CWA, and RCRA Numb er of EPA Inspections 2003-2004 85 Table 14 CAA, CWA, and RCRA Numb er of EPA Enforcement Actions 2003-2004 86 Table 15 CAA, CWA, and RCRA EP A Penalty Amounts Assessed 2003-2004 86 Table 16 CAA, CWA, and RCRA Number of State Inspections 2003-2004 87 Table 17 CAA, CWA, and RCRA Si gnificant Non-Compliance 2003-2004 88 Table 18 CAA, CWA, and RCRA Number of Quarters of Non-Compliance 2003-2004 89
vii Table 19 Number of News Articles on th e Petroleum Refining Industry by Year 91 Table 20 News Sources and Number of Articles by Source 91 Table 21 Frequencies and Percentages of News Articles by Article Location 92 Table 22 Frequencies of News Articles by Sub-Section by Article Location 92 Table 23 Frequencies and Percentages of News Articles by Word Count 93 Table 24 Company Name, Case Number and Number of News Articles 94 Table 25 Company, News Article S ource, Case Filing Date, and Date Article Appeared 103 Table 26 Company, News Source, and Location of Violating Refinery 104 Table 27 Company, Federal Penalty S ought, and Rank of Penalty Amount 105 Table 28 Company, Compliance Amount, and Rank of Compliance Amount 105 Table 29 Company, SEP Amount, and Rank of SEP Amount 106 Table 30 Company, Total Penalty Sought, Compliance Amount, SEP Amount, and Rank of Amount 106 Table 31 Company, News Source, Re fining Capacity, and Number of Violating Refineries 107 Table 32 Regression Model 1 Pr edicting Penalty Difference 109 Table 33 Regression Model 2 Pr edicting Penalty Difference 110 Table 34 Regression Model 3 Pr edicting Penalty Difference 111 Table 35 Regression Model 4 Pr edicting Penalty Difference 112 Table 36 Regression Model 5 Pr edicting Penalty Difference 113 Table 37 EPA Requested Penalty, Penalty Difference and Supplemental Penalty Amounts Across High Concentration, African-American, White, Hispanic, and Minority Communities 114
viii All the News ThatÂ’s Fit to Print? Media Reporting of Environmenta l Protection Agency Penalties Assessed Against the Petroleum Refining Industry, 1997-2003 Melissa L. Jarrell ABSTRACT Although examination of th e relationship between the media and crime has received considerable attention in the acad emic literature, only a few studies have examined news media coverage of environm ental crimes. The present study examines print news media coverage of federal pena lties assessed against the petroleum refining industry from 1997 to 2003. The Environmenta l Protection Agency initiated and/or settled 162 cases involving seventy-eight petroleum refining companies from 1997 to 2003. While a news search of the nationÂ’s twenty-five la rgest newspapers produced seventy-four articles relate d to petroleum refining industr y violations, only seventeen articles matched the EPA cases analyzed in the present study. The present study found that while there is a cons iderable amount of federal petroleum refining industry violations, only a few cases receive media attention. The greatest factor leading to news media coverage of petroleum refini ng industry violations is the penalty and compliance amount assessed by the EPA. Comp anies assessed the highest penalties appeared in news media articles, however only the top seven penalty assessments received news coverage. Overall, the lack of news media cove rage of petroleum
ix industry violations suggests that this type of crime is considered less important despite the vast amount of harm to the environm ent and human health produced by petroleum refining industry violations. Lack of atten tion by the news media to these important issues may lead to public misunders tanding and ignorance to the causes and consequences of environmental crime.
1 Introduction Since the 1970s, the word Â“environmentalismÂ” has become a household term. The emphasis on conservation and pres ervation of our environment and natural resources, the passage of major environmen tal legislation, and th e annual celebration of Earth Day have all had a positive impact on the environment and subsequently, human health. However, most publicly touted e nvironmental efforts have been aimed at changing the behaviors of individual consumers. For example, Americans have been told to use less water, plant a tree, ride their bicycles, and recycle endlessly. While these individual efforts are helpful, in reality, th e largest sources of environmental harm and pollution are multi-national corporations. Envi ronmental crime is rarely depicted as Â“crimeÂ” despite the fact that many researcher s suggest that environmental crime causes more illness, injury, and death than street crime (Burns and Lynch, 2004; Albanese and Pursley, 1993). According to Burns and Lynch (2004: ix), Â“we estimate that each year in the United States, up to ten times as many people die from environmental crimes, such as exposure to toxins in the workplace, home, and school, as die by homicide.Â” Despite overwhelming evidence that envi ronmental crime is responsible for a great deal of harm to the environment and human health, the vast majority of the public is unaware or ignorant to this t ype of crime. One reason for this ignorance or lack of understanding has to do with media coverage of environmental crime. While only a few studies have examined media coverage of e nvironmental crime, results indicate that the
2 media either underreports environmental crime or frames such crimes as Â“accidentsÂ”. Given the importance of the media in creati ng public awareness and garnering attention for certain social problems, it is essential fo r researchers to examine media coverage of environmental crimes. There is no single type of Â“environmenta l crimeÂ”; consequently, research focusing on environmental crime must selectively examin e a more narrow range or particular type of environmental offense and offender. Th e present study examines one of the most polluting industries in the United States: the petroleum refining industry. Studies examining media coverage of petroleum re fining industry violat ions are virtually nonexistent. Randall and DeFillippi (1987) offe r one of the first and only studies of media coverage of oil company misconduct. For the most part though, their study is descriptive and offers little insight into what factors, other than perceived seriousness of the offense, result in greater media coverage. Furthermore, their data is drawn from oil industry and news source information from th e late 1970s, over 25 years ago. In the past twenty-five years, there has b een almost no academic inquiry into media coverage of the petroleum industry or on covera ge of industry violations. The purpose of the present study is thr ee-fold: (1) to dete rmine the nature and distribution of petroleum refining industry violations; (2) to examine media coverage of petroleum refining industry violations and enforcement ac tions and determine whether media reporting is influenced by any specific ca se characteristics; and (3) to determine the impact of legal and extra-legal fact ors on fine amounts meted out to petroleum refineries found guilty of violating environm ental protection statutes. In order to accomplish these goals, data on media covera ge of petroleum refinery violations,
3 petroleum refinery violations, and community characteristics of areas where violative petroleum refineries were located were collected. News articles from twenty-five leading American newspapers were employe d as the source for media reporting data. Data on petroleum refinery violations and ar ea characteristics were collected from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). De scriptive statistics, content analysis and multiple regression were utilized to analyze the data. The present study contributes to the criminological l iterature on environmental crime and justice and the literature pertaining to media representations of crime. Chapter One provides an overview of environmentalism in the United States; describes the nature and impact of environmental crime; e xplores the causes and consequences of environmental crime and injustice in term s of environmental and human impacts; presents federal environmental legislation a nd enforcement efforts with a discussion of the various problems associated with legi slation and enforcement, and highlights corporate and political responses to environm ental crime and legislation. This chapter also presents an overview of studies of e nvironmental crime within the criminological literature. Chapter Two presents a historical overvi ew of mass communication in the United States; explores the major differences between the mainstream mass media and alternative media sources, discusses the f actors influencing media information; and highlights the political and social impact of mainstream mass media exposure. Chapter Three presents a thorough overview of the literature concerning the mass media and street crime; discusses the limited media attention given to corporate crime;
4 describes media reporting on the environmen t and environmental crime; and highlights the problems associated with media reporting of environmental risk, harm, and crime. Chapter Four describes the current stat us of the petroleum refining industry; emphasizes the environmental and human health hazards associated with the industry; discusses the industryÂ’s environmental complia nce history; and presents the literature related to petroleum refi ning industry violations. Chapter Five describes the data and met hods of the present analysis, followed by a presentation of the results in Chapter Six. A discussion of the results is presented in Chapter Seven and the conclusions and r ecommendations for future research are discussed in Chapter Eight.
5 Chapter One Environmental Crime Introduction Environmental crime is considered to be one type of white-c ollar or corporate crime (Burns and Lynch, 2004). The governme nt, the media, and the public rarely conceptualize environmental harm and in justice as Â“crimeÂ” despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Chapter One provide s an overview of environmentalism in the United States; describes the nature and imp act of environmental crime; explores the causes and consequences of environmental crim e and injustice in terms of environmental and human impacts; presents federal envir onmental legislation and enforcement efforts with a discussion of the various problems associated with legislation and enforcement, and highlights corporate and political respons es to environmental crime and legislation. This chapter also presents an overview of studies of environmen tal crime within the criminological literature. Environmentalism in the United States A majority of the American public, if as ked about the roots of environmentalism, would likely recall the 1970s and the back-to-ba sics mentality of the Â“hippiesÂ”. They may even remember the first celebrati on of Earth Day. While the large-scale environmental movement may indeed be r ooted in the 1960s and 1970s, environmental awareness and resource conservation have b een hot topics throughout American history.
6 In order to understand current environmental legislat ion, debates, and controversies, it is critical to understand what has led us to where we our today. Although heightened concerns for envir onmental crime and justice are relatively recent, public and political concern for the environment is not a new phenomenon. At times throughout our nationÂ’s history, environmen tal issues have receiv ed a great deal of attention publicly and politically, while at other points in history, our nation has focused its attention on arguably more pressing i ssues including nationa l security, economic development, and the like. Waves of Concern According to Taylor (2000), environmen talism in the nineteenth century was characterized by the Â“exploitative capitalist pa radigmÂ”. Environmental destruction was considered to be Â“the inevitable by-produc t of growth, consum ption, and industrial advancementÂ” (Taylor, 2000: 529). However, toward the turn of the twentieth century, environmentalists cautioned that with rapid urbanization and industr ialization, our nation must focus on preserving na ture and protecting species for the enjoyment of later generations. For the most part, environm ental concern focused on conservation and protection of natural spaces. Leaders of the Â“romantic environmental paradigmÂ”, including Rosseau, Muir, Marsh, and others, ch allenged people to protect the wilderness and live harmoniously with na ture (Taylor, 2000). During the 1960s, however, environmental problems affecting human health were becoming increasingly apparent. Rachel CarsonÂ’s book Silent Spring (1962) highlighted industrial and government practic es with respect to the us e of pesticides and other chemicals. Citizen groups grew in number and fought for more governmental
7 involvement in the regulation of environm ental hazards. The Â“new environmental movementÂ” evolved from the social fervor of the 1960s (Taylor, 2000) and involved legal-scientific groups and the creation of the Natural Resources Defense Fund (NRDC), the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund (SCLDF ), and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) (Cole, 1992). In early 1970, Congress auth orized the creation of a federal agency to oversee federal anti-pollution efforts a nd administer regulatory and environmental protection legislation; the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Although the Â“new environmental movementÂ” (Taylor, 2000) can be credited with aiding in the creation and implementation of federal environmental legislation aimed at preserving nature and regulat ing pollution, their efforts we re not intended to achieve equitable justice. The Â“new environmenta l movementÂ”, comprised mainly of collegeeducated, white, middle class activists and le gal scholars with a growing enthusiasm for outdoor recreation, was more concerned with resource conservati on than with human environmental hazards and more inclined to strive for small systematic changes rather than radical political and social changes. The Â“environmental justice paradigmÂ” (Taylor, 2000) involves activists who are most directly affected and more severely affected by environmental problems (Cole, 1992). Main stream or Â“newÂ” environmentalists are primarily concerned with aesthetic and recr eational considerations; are overwhelmingly white and middle class, use litigation for probl em solving; and typi cally pinpoint a single bad actor as the cause of an environmental pr oblem. In contrast, gr assroots activists are often fighting for health and home; are primar ily poor and working class people of color; often have a greater distrust of the law a nd more experience with non-legal strategies; they adopt a social justice or ientation that calls for struct ural level changes so as to
8 address the deeper problems of poverty, cr ime, unemployment, and environmental destruction. Â“People living in or near indus trial communities know that lawabiding and law-breaking corporatio ns differ in degree only; both put pollutants out the smokestack, and both thus poison nearby communities. In contrast to the bad actor model, which seeks to identify and punish individual bad actors, the institutiona l model identifies individual polluters not as explanations themselvesÂ’ but mere ly as part of an overall system of maximizing profitÂ” (Cole, 1992: 25). While mainstream environmentalists view pollution as the failure of government and industry to clean up the mess of a few viol ators, grassroots activ ists see pollution as the success of industry in maximizing profits by exte rnalizing environmen tal costs (Cole, 1992). Similar to deeming unemployment as the failure of the individual rather than our economic system, many regard environmenta l crime as the result of a few corrupt individuals rather than the result of our capitalist econom y (Mayo and Hollander, 1991). What is Environmental Crime and Injustice? Most definitions of environmental crime consider such crime to cover acts or omissions that violate federal, state, or local environmenta l standards and laws (National White Collar Crime Center, 2004; Situ and Em mons, 2000). Some acts, especially those committed by corporations, may not violate the criminal law. Many are violations of regulatory laws (Burns and Lynch, 2004). Many of these acts cause a great deal of harm to the environment and human health and sa fety and therefore should be treated as criminal (Clinard and Yeager, 1980; Fr ank and Lynch, 1992; Lynch, 1990; Reiman, 1998). Environmental crime typically affects ma ny victims and the victimization may be gradual and/or silent (Fra nk and Lynch, 1992). The Federa l Bureau of Investigation
9 (2003) focuses its attention on the most seri ous threats to public health and natural resources such as cases involving handling of hazardous waste and pollutants that may endanger workers, environmental catastrophe s that place entire communities at risk, federal government facility violations, busines ses identified by regulatory agencies as having a long history of viol ations or flagrant disregar d for environmental laws and organized crime activities generally in the solid waste industry. A number of studies in disciplines outside of criminology have examined victimization distributions by examining e xposure to toxic hazards in relation to community characteristics. For example, it has been shown that minority or low-income communities are disproportiona tely affected by environmen tal hazards (Bullard, 1983; Lavelle and Coyle, 1992; Mohai and Bryant, 1992; United Church of Christ, 1987; U.S. General Accounting Office, 1983). The majority of these studies fall within an area of research identified as Â“environmental justi ce.Â” Environmental justice advocates argue that no person, regardless of race, class, or gender, should suffer the consequences of environmental degradation and therefore s ubstantial political, social, and economic efforts should be made to protect the environment and human health. Conceptualization of Envi ronmental Crime and Injustice Environmental crime often goes unnoticed and people are somewhat apathetic to the problems caused by environmental crime. Fo r the most part, the apathetic response to environmental crime is a direct result of public unawareness of the r eal dangers to health and safety posed by this type of criminal behavior. Most environmental hazards commanding political, public, and media attentio n have been those hazards that can be easily Â“pinpointedÂ” at particul ar places and locations and wh ere cause and effect could be
10 closely linked (Mayo and Hollander, 1991). Â“Some hazards remain hidden or unattended because they lie embedded in a societal we b of values and assumptions that either denigrates the consequences or deems them acc eptable, elevates associated benefits, and idealizes certain notions, or belief sÂ” (Mayo and Hollander, 1991: 12). Causes of Environmental Crime and Injustice Environmental crimes are usually committed for economic reasons and more often than not, corporations place the value of money over public health. Criminal pollution is an economic crime committe d to escape costs of dealing with things properly. Â“If compliance expe nses are costly, and the chances of being caught are minimal, a strong incentive to pollute exists. Especially, if they can be reasonably sure that the penalty that will be imposed will be a monetary one in the way of the fineÂ” (Albanese and Pursley 1993: 317). In order to be a deterrent, the pe nalties must outweigh the crime. Fines are related to the offense, not the offender so often small companies pay too much and super-rich corporati ons a drop in the bucket (Wilson, 1986). Environmental crime and environmental injus tice then are a result of industry and corporate decisions to maximize profits and exte rnalize costs. In a ddition, environmental injustice and environmental racism are a re sult of the political a nd economic processes that exist at all levels of government. State governments must balance economic development and community interests in hea lth and safety. These decisions are often influenced by corporate donations. On the fe deral level, members of Congress as well as Presidential candidates are cour ted by industry and given ma ssive campaign contributions in order to affect legislativ e issues (Pope, 2004). Often, ec onomic and political decisions at the state and federal leve l benefit industry or a segmen t of the community at the
11 expense of others in the community. Â“G rassroots activists, w hose homes are being contaminated or who want to prevent a chemical plant from locating next to them, . .they ask for help from federal agencies, like the EPA. The EPA, wh ich is under intensive pressure from legislators who are in s upport of wealthy national and transnational corporations, is caught in th e middle of a contentious po litical fightÂ” (Roberts and Toffolon-Weiss, 2001:76). Environmental crim e and injustice then, is the result of corporate and political decision-making that app ears to benefit a few at a substantial cost to many. Impact of Environmental Crime and Injustice The devastating effects of environmenta l crime are not easy to determine or estimate. Although we gather and report a wide range of statistics of street and violent crime at the national, state, and local level, there are vi rtually no uniform or national statistics describing the status and impact of environmental crimes. There is a continuing debate over the consequences and extent of environmental pollution and serious questions over the impact of enforcement on the nationÂ’s competitiveness in global/domestic markets. The cost of envi ronmental toxic abatement and clean up is often more than the government is willing to spend. Researchers suggest that environmental crime causes more illness, injury, and death than street crime (Burns and Lynch, 2004; Albanese and Pursley, 1993). A ccording to Burns and Lynch (2004: ix), Â“we estimate that each year in the United Stat es, up to ten times as many people die from environmental crimes, such as exposure to t oxins in the workplace, home, and school, as die by homicide.Â”
12 Particular problems are presented by th e research produced by Â“corporateÂ” scientists (Lynch and Stretesky, 2001). Despite the abundance of toxic chemicals everywhere, it is difficult to establish a dire ct causal link between adverse health effects and chemical contamination (Adeola, 2000). Â“Establishing the time, space, and nonspurious causality of ailments of individuals due to their exposure to toxic chemicals has been the pivotal issue in numerous casesÂ” (Adeola, 2000: 6). Affected communities strongly believe that their symptoms are not taken seriously and are blamed on unhealthy lifestyles. Evidence to support residentsÂ’ claims is even mo re difficult to obtain because there is a lack of sufficient baseline data on their health pr ior to the arrival of industry. Health assessments are extremely expens ive and time-consuming and not without methodological flaws. Yet, as Bryant (1995: 9) notes Â“Although we may not be able to prove causality due to confoundi ng variables such as smoking, diet, indoor pollution, and synergistic and repeated effects of multiple exposures, this does not mean that cause and effect does not exist; it may mean onl y that we failed to prove itÂ”. Bryant summarized the problem as follows: Â“When the burden of proof is on the community to demonstrate certainty, policy makers often want to hold them to the rigors of trad itional research. Yet, when policy makers initiate siting and remedia tion decisions, they ofte n fail to apply that same level of rigor for certainty as they do for community groupsÂ” (Bryant, 1995: 14). Environmental Impact Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, 200 billi on tons of carbon dioxide have been added to the atmosphere (Owen, 1975). Nearly 70,000 chemical products have been introduced since World War II and 1,500 are added each year. The total U.S. production of chemicals amounts to over 300 million tons annually (Goldman,
13 1991). The Environmental Protection Agency has identified over 700 substances as hazardous to the environment. Over 2 billion pounds of toxic chemicals are released into the environment legally each year (Gray, 1998). According to the EPA, of the 100 billion tons of hazardous waste produced each year in the U.S., 90% is disposed of in an environmentally unsafe manner (H umphries, 1990). The U.S. Department of the Interior and Commerce have identified more than 1,500 species of wildlife as threatened or endangered. In 1995, 46 contaminants, from dioxin to chlordane, were found in fish. The number of lakes, rivers, and other U.S. wate rways where consumers have been advised to avoid or limit consumption of trout, salmon, or other species because of chemical contamination rose from 1,278 in 1993 to 1,740 in 1995 (Council on Environmental Quality, 1995). Human Impact Each year in the United States, envi ronmental pollutants and hazards are responsible for thousands of illnesses, injuries, and deaths. An estimated 40 million people, one-sixth of the U.S. population, live in close proximity to one or more hazardous waste sites (Cope 2002). Day (1989) argues that polluted water is th e single greatest cause of human illness and death through di sease. In 1995, over 40 million Americans were served by drinking water systems with lead levels exceeding the regulatory action level (Nadakavukaren, 1995). The EPA states that as many as 30,000 waste sites may pose significant health problems related to water contamination (D epartment of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1980). More than half the U.S. population liv es in counties that violate the Clean Air Act (DeLuca, 1999) Approximately 53,000 people each year die prematurely from lung ailments as the resu lt of air pollution (Situ and Emmons, 2000).
14 Furthermore, Nelkin and Brown (1984) s uggest that air pollution kills about 100,000 workers each year and results in 400,000 cases of disease. Cancer death rates are highest in areas close to petrochemical plants, steel mills, and metal refineries (Berry, 1988; Whelan, 1985). According to a 1999 Committee on Heath Risks of Exposure to Radon, radon in homes in the United States accounts for 15,400 to 21,800 lung cancer deaths each year; 10% of the total deaths attributed to lung cancer each year (Goldstein and Goldstein, 2002). In 1993, over 40% of the Hispanic population and over 35% of the Asian/Pacific population were exposed to poor air quality (Council on Environmental Quality, 1995). Three out of every five Af rican-Americans live in communities with uncontrolled waste sites (Unite d Church of Christ, 1987). Residents who believe their health is directly affected by environmental degradation are faced with numerous personal challenges. Not only must residents deal with the health consequences of pollution, th ey also are subjected to numerous emotional and economic maladies. Their homes lose valu e, they worry about cancer, and they are concerned about losing jobs in the very indus try that pollutes them. Fighting for justice creates even more hardship s. When community reside nts complain about pollution, experts are called in to determine if a problem exists and whether or not is it directly caused by the polluting company. From the pers pective of the common citizen, scientific findings are often extremely technical and di fficult to comprehend. Â“Taking the struggle for environmental justice out of the community and into the domain of scientists plays into the domain of risk producers because they have resources and access to scientistsÂ” (Kuehn, 1996). For example, in Mossville, L ouisiana, residents living near a large chemical plant were found to have abnorma lly high levels of dioxin in their blood.
15 Experts were called in to ascertain the cause of the abnormalities, while community leaders expressed frustration at being unabl e to understand the technical reports. One activist sent the following e-mail: Â“I, as an average citizen, do not know what half the words. .from your email means. I do know that many people in Mossville are ill. I personally invite you to come to Mossville, meet the people, and discuss it with those who are affected. Then, perhaps you c ould go back and find a way to help us instead of playing with words. We are sick. We need help.Â” (Roberts and Toffolon-Weiss, 2001: 19). Overall, environmental crime and injustic e are responsible for a great deal of harm to the environment and human health. Although concern for the environment isnÂ’t a new phenomenon, the growth of urbanization and industrialization has increasingly put environmental issues at the forefront of public concern. Environmental Legislation The federal government did not enter th e field of environmental law until 1890 mainly because political leaders were concerned over their constitutional authority to develop and regulate natural resources (Cam pbell-Mohn, Breen, and Futrell, 1993). In 1890, Congress established the Rivers and Ha rbors Act but true federalization of environmental law really took effect about 25 years ago in conjunction with the nationÂ’s first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. In July 1970, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. A great de al of environmental legislation was passed during the 1970s (see Table 1) including: the National Enviro nmental Policy Act (1969), the Clean Air Act (1970), Clean Water Act ( 1972), Federal Insectic ide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (1972), Endangered Species Act (1973), Safe Drinking Water Act (1974), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (1976), the Toxic Substance Control
16 Act (1976) and the Comprehensive Envi ronmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (1980). Today, environmental la w encompasses a broad range of federal, state, and local statutes, re gulations, and case law relating to the prevention and clean-up of contamination of the environment by chemi cals, hazardous waste, and other pollutants. Table 1: Major Federal Environmental Legislation Enacted During the 1970s National Environmental Policy Act (1969) Enacted to establish a national policy for the environment and provide for the establishment of a Council on Environmental Quality. Clean Air Act (1970) Enacted to prevent the deterioration of air quality through controlling emissions of pollutants from sources that cause or contribute to air pollution or endanger human health. Clean Water Act (1972) Enacted to restore and maintain the integrity of the NationÂ’s waters and to regulate the sources of water pollution. Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (1972) Enacted for federal control of pesticide distribution, sale, and use in the U.S., for the study of the consequences of use, and to require users to register when purchasing pesticides. Endangered Species Act (1973) Enacted to en courage the development and maintenance of conservation programs to safeguard endangered and threatened species. Safe Drinking Water Act (1974) Enacted to protect drinking water in the U.S., establish safe standards of purity, and require all owners and operators of public water systems to comply with primary standards. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (1976) Enacted to protect human hea lth and the environment from the dangers associated with waste management and disposal; to encourage the conservation and recovery of natural resources through reuse, recycling, and waste minimization. Toxic Substances Control Act (197 6) Enacted to regulate chemical substances to which the public or environment may become exposed. Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (1980) Enacted to address problems associated with abandoned hazardous waste sites and clean-up of these sites. Problems with Environmental Law Attorneys engaged in environmental law and academics in environmental studies often agree that our environmental legisla tion is extremely complex and often vague (Lavelle, 1993). For example, the EPA has received so many queries about the meaning of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, it set up a special hotline for RCRA questions. In a National Law Journal survey of 200 corporate environmental attorneys, over fifty percent stated that most of their time and energy was spent trying to determine
17 whether or not their companies were complyi ng with the law (Lavelle, 1993). The lack of legislative clarity and complexity has led to a great deal of inconsistent enforcement of such laws. Enforcement of Environmental Laws Except for a few highly sensational cases, the criminal prosecution of environmental violations at the federal and st ate level is a relatively recent development (Edwards et al, 1996). In 1981, the EPA created the Office of Environmental Enforcement and the Department of Justice established an Environmental Crimes Unit. Prior to 1982, only 25 environmental crimes were prosecuted by the federal government (Campbell et al, 1993). Since 1982, the fe deral government has secured over 1,400 criminal indictments and over 1,000 convictions for violations of environmental law. Since 1974, the courts have assessed over $3 bi llion in civil and judicial penalties and over $290 million in criminal penalties (Res ke, 1992). According to the FBI (2003), at any given time the organization is i nvolved in the prosecution of about 450 environmental crimes cases in conjunction with other federal agencies in particular the EPA. Over fifty percent of the 450 FBI envir onmental crimes cases i nvolve violations of the Clean Water Act (FBI, 2003). The FBI gene rally focuses attention to environmental crimes only when the cases are very serious and involve immediate threats to public health and natural re sources (FBI, 2003). In 1997, U.S. attorneys initiated criminal investigations against 952 individuals or organizations involved in viol ations of environmental la w (BJS, 1999). Approximately one quarter of the suspects were identif ied as organizations. In 1997, 446 defendants were charged with criminal environmental vi olation (47% for the unlawful emission of a
18 hazardous substance or other pollutant and 53% for a wildlife violation). Approximately one quarter of those convicted for environmen tal law violations were sentenced to prison with an average sentence lengt h of 21.5 months (BJS, 1999). Sixty-four percent of those convicted were order to pay a fine and th e average fine imposed was $67,416. In that same year, the Federal government filed 207 civil cases involving the violation of environmental laws. Seventy-three percent of these cases ended with a settlement (27%) or a consent agreement ( 46%) (BJS, 1999). Although fede ral and state enforcement efforts targeting environmental crime have increased in recent years, only a small percentage of criminal enforcement efforts are aimed at environmental crime. Problems with Environmental Enforcement According to Albanese and Pursley ( 1993), one of the main problems with environmental regulation and enforcement is the fragmented nature of authority. No singular agency is responsible for regul ation and enforcement of our federal environmental laws. The Environmental Protection Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Association, Department of Energy and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry are just some of the many agencies that deal with regulation and enforcement of laws concerning the environment. On the state level, there are several different appr oaches to dealing with environmental law violations which are all a grea t deal more complex than dealing with conventional crime. Although state and local prosecuto rs are given the authority to enforce these laws, they have rarely focused on such violations, due in large part to the overwhelming and complex nature of environmental crime a nd the public and media focus on conventional crime.
19 Despite the creation and implementation of new and amended laws to address environmental hazards, it is proving very di fficult to enforce such laws (Albanese and Pursley, 1993). Penalties for law violati ons are generally handled by administrative agencies who impose fines; most actions do not result in criminal penalties. Â“And unlike most conventional crimes, it is generally impossible to determine the seriousness of the offense by the nature of the action takenÂ” (A lbanese and Pursley, 1993: 306). A study of violations of regulatory laws by Fortune 500 companies revealed that even serious violations generally received only administrative sanctions (Clinard and Yeager, 1980). Corporate and Political Responses to En vironmental Crime and Justice Legislation Industry has learned to deal effectivel y with environmental crime and justice legislation, mandates, and communities. During the 1970s and 1980s, as more and more laws established industrial rules and regul ations, industry was faced with a vast bureaucracy and expensive clean-up costs. Indu stry has not given in to these laws or grassroots campaigns. Rather than crea te non-polluting alternat ives, corporations prepared for war, which made future struggl es even more difficult. To challenge environmental justice legislation and mandates, corporations have ut ilized a wide range of techniques including: the Â“greenwashÂ” and Â“spinÂ” of environmental justice claims (Stauber and Rampton, 1995) and Â“environm ental blackmailÂ” (meeting suggested standards will force the industry to move, co sting the communities jobs). Industry has spent millions of dollars on PR campaigns to protect their image and promote their new Â“greenÂ” attitudes. Each y ear, Earth Day is sponsored by the worst polluters in the business. Grassroots activists have been called Â“insaneÂ”, Â“half-cocked nut casesÂ”, Â“extremistsÂ” and Â“opportunistsÂ” (Roberts and Toffolon-Weiss, 2001).
20 Corporations are also fighting for Â“volunt ary standardsÂ” and spending billions of dollars on no-holds-barred lobbying and on PR cam paigns that present their new, greener image (Lynch and Stretesky, 2001). The EPA ha s been directly attacked by industry lawyers who argue that the EPA lacks authority under the law to force states to undertake new environmental policies. The current Bush Administra tion has effectively reduced many of the victories accomplished during the Clinton Administration. Industry has been successful at the federal level at combating environmental just ice. Congressional Republicans placed into the VA-HUD Appropriations Bill in 1998, a one-y ear moratorium on the EPAÂ’s using of any funds Â“to implement or administer the interim guidelinesÂ” for Title IV complaints filed after October 21, 1998 and this moratorium was extended through 1999 (EPA, 2000). According to William Kovacs, vice president for environmental policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Â“the se appropriations pr ovisions are central to our efforts to stop the worst excesses of the environmental movement. .this will block the worst kind of environmental lunacy masquerading as civil rightsÂ” (U.S. Chamber of Commerce 1998). Environmental justice advocates emphasize that the mandates donÂ’t address nearly enough ; broader problems need to be addr essed such as land values, lowered quality of life, and th e like (Cushman, 1998). To address this issue, the EPA put toge ther a 25-member committee to revise the Interim Guidelines with representatives from industry, state/local governments, and the scientific community. The revised guidelin es were supposed to be published in 1999 but no consensus was reached. The committee decided to issue a report expressing the various diverging opinions in conjunction with ideas for future decision-making (Sissell,
21 1999). On June 16, 2000, the EPA issued a Revi sed Guidance for Investigating Title VI Administrative Complaints Challenging Permits. The revised report made state environmental agencies responsible for de termining what constituted a significant disparate impact. Accordingly, only the very worst cases would be subject to compliance. Environmental Crime and Criminology In recent years, academic attention to problems of environmental crime and injustice and racism has increased. Scholars in environmental studies law, public health, and other disciplines have focused thei r efforts on understanding the problem and offering solutions. Despite this unpreceden ted growth in other fields of inquiry, criminologists, aside from a few indivi duals, have been relatively silent. A handful of criminologists have, in recent years, turned their attention to crime as it relates to the environment. However, Â“environmental crime anthologies (Clifford, 1998; Edwards et al., 1996) have largely overl ooked the social power context in which environmental deviance occursÂ” (Simon, 2000). Â“The absence of e nvironmental justice studies in the criminological literature speaks to the unwillingness to take issues of racial and class discrimination and corporate harm seriouslyÂ” (Lynch, Stretesky, and McGurrin, 2001). Although there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of criminal statutes for environmental crimes, there has be en little academic re search concerning this form of sanctioning (Edwards et al., 1996). Â“Criminologist s not only neglect the harms caused by corporate crime, but have also ne glected the laws which criminalize these behaviorsÂ” (Lynch, Stretesky, and McGurrin, 2001).
22 The few criminologists who have endeavor ed to study environmental crime have made important contributions to the literatur e. Stretesky and Lynch (1999) addressed the connections between institutionalized racism and corporate violence. Â“The problem is learning to accept that when companies dum p chemicals into rivers, streams, and landfills, or alongside roadways, they do so purposefully and with knowledge that the likely results of their actions will include in jury and death for those exposed to their waste products. These are not accidentsthey are planned actions no less serious than assaults of killingsÂ” (Stretesky and Lync h, 1999: 169). The authors conclude that corporate environmental violence cannot be alleviated via traditional criminal justice responses. In order to understand and eff ectively deal with corporate environmental violence, we must acknowledge social stru ctural factors, economic variables, and institutionalized racism as primary causes of this type of violence. Lynch and Stretesky (2001) demonstrate ways criminologists ca n employ medical evidence to identify toxic harms. In their study, the authors find a great deal of literature supporting the premise that toxic chemicals are directly related to illness and death in the United States. Furthermore, they note the lack of attenti on given to the production and use of safe alternatives. Research also shows that corpor ations deny or ignore their role in causing death and illness (Lynch and St retesky, 2001). The authors conclude that although the link between illness and disease and toxic expo sure is well documented in the medical literature, industry continues to manipulate data, spend millions of dollars on elaborate public relations campaigns, a nd hide important findings.
23 Conclusion Environmental crime, in its various forms, is responsible for a great deal of environmental and human harm. Comple xities and problems associated with environmental legislation make it difficult to enforce environmental laws. Rather than consider safe alternatives to environmen tal pollution, industry has spent money on PR campaigns to present to the public an imag e of Â“environmental friendlinessÂ”. For the most part, the public is unaw are of the dangers to the e nvironment and human health associated with environmental crime. This public ignorance combined with corporate strategies touting corporate environmental responsibility creates a false and misleading image of environmental crime. The impor tance of understanding environmental crime across many categories cannot be over-em phasized. Awareness and understanding are the first steps leading to m eaningful change. Although a small number of criminologists have begun to examine issues related to environmental crime, in order for this information to reach the public, information must be available outside of the academic literature. One of the primary vehicles fo r presenting mass information about important social issues is the mass media. Chapter Two presents information pertaining to mass communication and the mass media.
24 Chapter Two The Mainstream Mass Media Introduction Each day, we are bombarded by a wide range of media messages. It is nearly impossible to avoid the media. Whether or not we choose to watch TV, surf the web, listen to the radio, or read a newspaper, ch ances are high that we are exposed to the mainstream mass media in some form on a daily basis. Chapter Two presents a historical overview of mass communication in the United States; explores the major differences between the mainstream mass media and altern ative media sources, discusses the factors influencing media information; and highlig hts the political and social impact of mainstream mass media exposure. What is Mass Communication? Mass communication is a method by which me diated information is disseminated to a large audience of people. Mass co mmunication differs from interpersonal communication in a number of ways, most notab ly for its potential for far greater impact than interpersonal communication (R odman, 2001). Mass communication is synonymous with the mass media. The mass me dia disseminate information in various forms through a vast number of sources incl uding television, news papers, magazines, books, radio, movies, and the Internet. The mass media, in its numerous forms, has become a fundamental part of contemporary life.
25 Historical Overview of Mass Communication in America Throughout most of huma n history, speech and body language were the only forms of interpersonal communication. Comm unication changed with the development of writing in about 3,000 B.C. Information spread throughout North American colonies through letter carriers, postings in taverns, and via word-of-mouth. Rumors and gossip were considered primary methods for spr eading the news. Mass communication dates from the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1456, who created the means by which printed documents, most notably the Bible, could reach large numbers of people (Rodman, 2001). First utilized to propa gate religious text, the printing press was soon used to distribute news, entertainment, and government missives. Newspapers made periodic appearances as early as the 1600s, in the very beginning of the colonial days (Compaine and Gomery, 2000). The firs t American magazine s appeared in the 1740s. In 1791, Congress ratified the Firs t Amendment, emphasizing the governmentÂ’s commitment to free speech and media freedom Over the next 430 years, newspapers, books, and magazines were the primary method s by which information was presented for mass consumption (Rodman, 2001), until the advent of broadcast radio in the 1920s. In the past sixty years, media evolution has ma de rapid changes with the invention of the television, and more recently, th e growth of cable television and creation of the Internet (Rodman, 2001). Today, the mass media, comp rised of print media (books, newspapers, magazines), electronic media (television, ra dio, audio/video recording), and new media (computers and computer networking) is a dominant presence locally, nationally, and globally.
26 Mainstream Mass Media Versus Alternative Media While the present study is concerned primarily with the Â“mainstreamÂ” mass media, it is important to recognize that ther e are Â“alternativeÂ” media sources which often highlight information ignored by mainstream sources. The mainstream mass media refers to media that are Â“easily, inexpensively, and simultaneously available to large segments of a populationÂ” (Surette, 1992: 10). Alterna tive media sources do not have the financial or political resources to reach the majority of the American public as compared to mainstream mass media sources. The main stream mass media, which reaches the majority of the American population in terms of distribution number s, have the greatest resources politically and financ ially. Alternative media sources were established in order to critique the mainstream mass media or to f ill in the gaps created by narrow mainstream mass media agendas. Often, individuals seek out alternative sour ces through their own personal motivations, while mass media sources generally do not need to seek out consumers. The mainstream mass media se ts the framework in which other media sources operate (Chomsky, 1997). Throughout th e present study, the term Â“mediaÂ” refers to the mainstream mass media. Pervasiveness of Media Ex posure in the United States The mass media in the United States is comprised of 1,700 daily newspapers; 11,000 magazines; 9,000 radio stations; 1,000 television stations ; 2,500 book publishers; and 7 movie studios (Bagdiki an, 2000; Compaine and Go mery, 2000). According to Stempel and Hargrove (1996), in a 1995 su rvey of Americans, 70.3% were regular viewers of local TV news; 67.3% were regular viewers of network TV news; and 59.3% read a daily newspaper. In addition, 48.6% of the survey population listened regularly to
27 radio news and 31.4% regularly read a news magazine. According to a Gallup poll in 1996, 78% of Americans claimed they get their news from nightly national television newscasts (DeLuca, 1999). Television has become the dominant form of news communication. In 1950, only 9% of U.S. homes had a television set. T oday, the average Ameri can household has two television sets, which are on for more than seven hours per day (Rodman, 2001). According to Graber (1980), the average Am erican high school graduate spent more time in front of the TV than in the classroom. According to the National Association of Broadcasters (1995), the average person listens to the radio for over 22 hours per week. The growth and development of the Inte rnet and the World Wide Web has had a major impact on mass information dissemination especially in the past ten years. A survey conducted in 2001 by the UCLA Ce nter for Communication Policy found that 72.3 percent of Americans had online access, a growth of over 5 percent from 2000 (Surette, 1998). According to the Census Bureau (2000), over 54 million American households or 51 percent had one or more comput ers, an increase of 9% in a little over a year. Internet and World Wide Web use has incr eased dramatically in the past few years, making it the most significant communicati on tool ever devised (Greek, 1997). Factors Influencing Media Information Media Ownership There is a growing concentration in me dia ownership (Bagdikian, 2000; Herman and Chomsky, 1988; Manoff and Schudson, 1986; Miller, 1996, 1998; Parenti, 1993). At the end of WWII, eighty percent of daily ne wspapers were independently owned. By 1989, eighty percent of daily newspapers were owned by corporate chains. In 1983, fifty
28 corporations dominated the mass media and th e largest media merger in history involved a $340 million transaction. By 1990, twenty-three corporations controlled most of the mass media. In 1997, just ten corporations dominated the mass media, and the DisneyABC deal became the biggest merger in hist ory at $19 billion. TodayÂ’s mass media is virtually controlled by six firms, which ar e among the worldÂ’s largest and most powerful corporations; General Electric, Viacom, Disney, Bertelsmann, Time Warner, and MurdochÂ’s. In 2000, the AOL-Time Warner me rger involved a $350 billion deal which was over 1,000 times greater th an in 1983 (Bagdikian, 2000). The ownership of the mass media by just six conglomerates means that a very powerful and prosperous few have control ov er influencing the American public. Media owners are driven by profits, most of which ar e derived from advertising dollars of other multi-national corporations. The voices of thos e opposed to the vested interests of media corporations are not likely to be heard (D eLuca, 1999). Former CBS president Frank Stanton stated, Â“Since we are advertiser suppor ted we must take into account the general objective and desires of advertisers as a wholeÂ” (Parenti, 1993: 35). For example, ChryslerÂ’s advertising agency circulated a letter to magazines requiring them to submit articles for screening for possible offensive content to Chrysler (Glaser, 1997). The government appears indifferent to the immens e and still growing power of major media corporations (Bagdikian, 2000). Citizen acti on groups and alternative media outlets lack the financial and political resources to matc h corporate funds. For the most part, the public isnÂ’t even aware of th e political, social, and economic dangers of concentrated corporate control of the media.
29 Use of Authorities as Sources There is a heavy demand for dramatic a nd sensational stories and the media must pick and choose which stories to present to th e public. Â“If it bleeds, it leadsÂ”, has become a leading media mantra. Journalists rely h eavily on easily accessible and reliable sources for information which generally means using go vernment officials. Media personnel are not likely to criticize governmental organiza tions out of fear they may deny access to information. Reliance on high-ranking offi cials is problematic for several reasons. Reliance on political officials leads to the acceptance and reaffirmation of traditional approaches to dealing with certain social problems. In addition, rather than provide accurate information, bureaucrats can use news exposure opportunities to promote themselves and the institution they represent, which leads the public to believe they are reliable and credible sources of information (Chermak, 1997). Political and Social Impact of Mainstream Mass Media The mass media is the platform by which a plethora of political matters are discussed and how most people learn about political issues and determine which are important (Perse, 2001). Because the publicÂ’s exposure to the political process is limited (Kessel, 1975), information from the mass me dia may be the only contact with politics for an overwhelming majority of Americ ans (McCombs and Shaw, 1972). Political campaigns are often built around electronic me dia because they are a cost-effective way to gather support for policy positions (G raber, 1980; Skogan and Maxfield, 1981; Tunnell, 1992). One of the major uses of me dia in political campaigns is agenda setting.
30 Agenda-Setting Agenda-setting refers to the power of the news media to direct our concerns toward certain issues (Perse, 2001). A large body of research supports the agenda-setting influence of the media (Berk, Brookman, a nd Lesser, 1977; Dearing and Rogers, 1996; Fisher, 1989; Gordon and Heath, 1981; Haskin s and Miller, 1984; McCombs and Shaw, 1972; Pritchard, 1986). According to Cohen (1963), the media may not tell us exactly what to think, but they tell us what to thi nk about. The similarity of programming across channels and in news reports due to the c oncentration of ownershi p and economy of scale have led to the proliferation of different ve nues of news drawing from the same sources (Perse, 2001). Repetition of cer tain issues, people, and events in conjunction with media consistency reinforces the publicÂ’s understa nding of what is important (Perse, 2001). McCombs and Shaw (1972), the original pi oneers of the term Â“agenda-settingÂ” found almost identical rank-order correlation between amount of news coverage of issues and the rank ordering of those same issues by a sa mple of individuals. Dearing and Rogers (1996) in a meta-analysis of 100 studies, found overwhelming support for the agendasetting hypothesis. Funkhouser (1973a, 1973b) and MacKuen and Coombs (1981) found that the publicÂ’s belief in th e importance of events closely followed media coverage of events, and not real-world indicators. Th e media are a powerful force in establishing public opinion and in reducing the number of divergent opinions in society (NoelleNeumann, 1991, 1993). Conclusion The mainstream mass media are a dominant presence in American society. On a daily basis, the American public is inundated wi th a vast array of media information from
31 a variety of sources. The mass media not onl y provide the public with information but also interpret the information. In add ition, the mass media have a great impact on socialization by providing a sense of collectiv e norms and values. In the past several decades, the media has shifted from an investig ative role to a more profit-driven role. The growing concentration of media ownershi p and the use of government officials as sources both have a huge impact on media cont ent. Information presented to the public often reflects the interests of the powerful in our societ y. Although alternative media sources exist, they lack the financial and political resource s to compete for exposure with mainstream mass media sources. Chapter Thr ee unites the topics a ddressed in Chapter One and Chapter Two with a thorough examina tion of crime, environmental crime, and the mass media.
32 Chapter Three The Mainstream Mass Media and Crime Introduction Many of our ideas about the world ar ound us are gleaned, not through direct experience, but through exposure to the mass me dia. The news media play an important and primary role in the cons truction of social problems (Sacco, 1995). In many cases, the media distorts the facts and provides us with a simplistic and often erroneous view of reality. By creating a distorte d, provincial, and/or false vi ew of reality, the media are responsible for perpetuating myths that have dramatic, misdirected, and often dangerous consequences. In particular, the media has mi sconstrued the reality of crime in American society. According to Fishman (1978: 542) in an analysis of th e social and media construction of crime waves, Â“the interpla y between national elites and national media organizations may well have given rise to a number of social issues now widely accepted as fixtures in the recent American political sceneÂ”. The media doesnÂ’t just report about crime; they are responsible for constructing a so cial reality of crime that has an enormous impact on public perceptions of crime a nd criminality (Surette, 1992; Barlow, 1991; Garofalo, 1981). Chapter Three presents a thorough overview of the literature concerning the mass media and street crime; discusses the limited media attention given to corporate crime; describes media repor ting on the environment and environmental
33 crime; and highlights the problems associated with media reporting of environmental risk, harm, and crime. The Mass Media and Street Crime Research into the relationship between the media and crime, although not a recent phenomenon, has gained a great deal of crimi nological attention in the past two decades (Barlow et al, 1995a; Lofquist, 1997). Research ers generally agree that crime as it is portrayed in the mass media is distorted a nd over sensationalized (Barlow et al, 1995a; Benedict 1992; Chermak, 1994; Kappeler et al, 1996), presents a misleading view of crime (Chermak, 1998; Fishman, 1978; Gr aber, 1980; Lotz, 1991; Marsh, 1989), and blurs the line between news and entertainm ent (Newman, 1990). Politicians, the public, and the media are preoccupied with violent cr ime and neglect other types of crime, in particular corporate crime (Ka ppeler et al, 1996). Furthermor e, the media focuses a great deal of attention on crimes committed by young, male minorities while overplaying the prevalence of white, affluent victims. The me dia perpetuates the myth that most crime is interracial. The media makes us afraid of random violent crime by strangers and even though youth crime is on the decline, surveys indicate that an overwhelming number of Americans believe juveniles are committing more crimes than ever before. The picture of crime in America, as presented by the vast majority of media outle ts, is of the violent stranger and as such, the most viable solutio ns are more police, more laws, and harsher sentencing practices. By limiti ng or excluding incidences of corporate crime from news coverage, the media plays a larg e role in shaping public opin ion as to what constitutes crime (Garofalo, 1981; Hills, 1987; Marsh, 1989; Re iman, 1998). This distorted view of crime has an enormous impact on society. Fear of crime, in particular violent, individual
34 crime, is on the rise even though the violent crime rate has been on the decline over the past two decades. Most people have little direct experience with the types of crime presented in the media (Ericson et al, 1987; Graber, 1980; Hall et al, 1978; Stro man and Seltzer, 1985; Surette, 1992). Therefore, th e public relies heavily on the media to supply them with crime news. Researchers emphasize that it is important for criminologists to challenge the media and analyze reporting biases (Wright et al, 1995). Crimi nologists have a great deal to offer the news media with respect to making news more representative and less distorted (Barak, 1994). Sources of Information Police and court officials provide rela tively easy access to crime information. However, they also affect how crime is pres ented in the news. Reporters generally rely on authoritative sources for crime news (Berkowitz, 1987; Berkowitz and Beach, 1993; Brown et al, 1987; Chermak, 1995; Gans, 1979; Sigal, 1973). The media utilize the police and criminal justice officials as thei r primary source of information for a number of reasons. In order to provide the public with as much cred ible information as possible, the media need to gather information from reliable sources. In addition, due to time constraints, the media need easy and quick access to crime information. The police provide the media with seemingly credible a nd easy-to-access data (Lynch et al, 2000). The problem with relying on police informa tion is that once again, certain crimes, moreover street crimes, are given more covera ge than other types of crime and the police are able to promote their own interests and their own version of crime (Sherizen, 1978; Fishman, 1980; Hall et al, 1978; Ericson et al, 1987; Grabosky and Wilson, 1989). In
35 addition, Â“the police role as the dominant gatekeeper means that crime news is often police news and that the advancement of a po lice perspective on crime and its solutions is facilitatedÂ” (Sacco, 1995: 146). Chermak ( 1997) found that in th e majority of 1,900 crime, drug, and policy stories, police and c ourt officials were utilized as sources. Criminologists and sociologists only accounted for 2% of sources in all crime stories and even less in drug stories (Chermak, 1997). Focus on Individual Violent Crime a nd Neglect of Official Crime Data Serious personal crime, most notably murder, is given high priority by the mass media (Cohen, 1975; Chermak, 1994, 1995; Ericson et al, 1991; Graber, 1980; Humphries, 1981; Sheley and Ashkins, 1981; Skogan and Maxfield, 1981) while whitecollar crime and property crime are given ve ry little attenti on (Chermak, 1994, 1995; Evans and Lundman, 1983; Graber, 1980; Jeri n and Fields, 1995). A large amount of criminological literature supports the premis e that there is an overrepresentation of violent individual crimes in the news media, especially when compared to proportions of such crimes indicated in the official cr ime data (Barlow et al, 1995a; Graber, 1980; Garofalo, 1981; Reiman, 1998; Sherizen, 1978; Skogan and Maxfield, 1981). Barlow et al (1995a) found that 73% of th e articles included in their sample of news magazines focused on violent crime whereas only 10% of crimes known to police involved such violence in that same year. According to Chir icos et al (1997) tele vision and news stories about violent crime and juvenile violent cr ime increased more than 400% between June and November of 1993. However, while medi a and public attenti on to violent crime continued to escalate, the rates of such crim e continued to decline (Chiricos et al, 1997).
36 Media accounts of crime not only exaggerate incidences of violent crime, they egregiously overstate the occurrence of i ndividual crime (Garofal o, 1981; Graber, 1980; Schlesinger et al, 1991) a nd stranger crime (Chermak, 1994; Kappeler et al, 1996; Tunnell, 1992.) The reason for the overrepresen tation of violent individual crime has a lot to do with the sensational and dramatic quality of such crimes (Sacco, 1995). Although these crimes are atypical, they provide the media with the opportunity to create dramatic stories with victims and villains. Distortion of Victim and Offender Characteristics A number of studies examining the natu re of homicide repor ting have found that the strongest predictor of reporting and atten tion was directly rela ted to the number of victims killed during the incident (Cherm ak, 1998; Johnstone et al, 1994; Wilbanks, 1984). In other words, the more victims, the more coverage. Several studies show that minorities are overrepresented as offenders in news coverage of crime (Barlow et al, 1995a; Sheley and Ashkins 1981; Smith, 1984) and there is a growing emphasis on socially favored victims of crime (Ben edict, 1992; Fishman, 1978; Graber, 1980). Barlow et al (1995a) found a significant bias against racial minorities in the news accounts of crime utilized in their study of Time magazine articles over a five-year period. While official data reported that white offenders were responsible for the majority of crimes committed in the years in question, over 74% of news reports on crime during the same time frame concerned mi nority offenders. Similarly, Entman (1990, 1992, 1994) found that defendants were most likel y to be presented as African-American. Humphries (1981) found a disproportionate emphasis on the arre sting of young minority males from lower class backgrounds in his study of news stories in the New York Post in
37 the 1950s and 1960s. Johnstone, Hawkins, a nd Michener (1994) found that murders of minority victims were less likely to be re ported while murders of women and children were more likely to be reported. Lack of Attention Given to Solut ions or to the Wrong Solutions Most crime news articles focus on criminals and criminal events with little attention given to solutions to the prob lem (Barlow et al 1995a; Sherizen, 1978; Dussuyer, 1979; Graber, 1980). For exampl e, in their study of 175 Time magazine articles, Barlow et al (1995a) found that 82% of the articles focused on crime and criminals and only a small percentage (17%) ad dressed larger criminal justice issues. While lack of media attention to appropria te solutions is cause for concern, even more troubling is the attention given to solutio ns that have little or no positive support in the academic literature. Cavendar (1984) studied the media coverage of Â“Scared StraightÂ”, a program designed to bring troubled juveniles into contac t with inmates in a New Jersey prison. The program was one of the most widely publicized media presentations of crime in the 1970s. Alt hough evaluations of the program and similar Â“shockÂ” programs failed to produce significant re sults in the criminological literature, the media nonetheless promoted the ideals of deterrence and retribution as primary punishment mechanisms for reducing criminal and delinquent behavior (Cavendar 1984). Federal anti-crime agendas have prioriti zed criminalization and enforcement over social intervention since the early 1920s (Potter, 1998). An ti-crime legislation which focuses on getting tough and pointing the finger at individual respons ibility continues to dominant the political and social agenda while there continues to be almost no mention of economic and political structures as root causes of crime (Barlow et al, 1995b). By
38 presenting crime as largely the result of i ndividual pathology, the media neglect to link crime with broader social forces (Humphrie s, 1981). When the public believes violent crime is so prevalent and that police are very successful in apprehending offenders, they will continue to support legislat ion and funding that calls for more police, more prisons, and more money for the criminal justice system (Surette, 1992). Creating Fear By promoting violent and indi vidual crime, the media ha s the potential to elevate fear of crime or fear of cert ain types of crime. Williams and Dickinson (1993) articulate that regular exposure to crime news has a direct impact on fear of victimization. While Sacco (1995) emphasizes that many consumers are skeptical of the news media, there remains a substantial number of people who believe what they watch and read. Heath and Gilbert (1996) suggest that some television viewing is correlated with fear of crime for some viewers. However, directly relati ng fear of crime to media exposure is difficult to uncover due to the complexities of the re lationship between fear and media exposure. The type of programming, operationalization of fear, viewer demographics and beliefs, sense of justice, and level of fear prior to exposure all ha ve an impact on study results. Therefore analyses of exposure to crime news and fear of crime is difficult to accurately determine. Heath (1984) found in a sample of phone interviews that reports of local crimes that were sensationalized or random were associated with highe r levels of fear of crime. Similarly, Williams and Dickins on (1993) found that British news articles depicting more sensational aspe cts of crime appeared to promote fear of crime. Gordon and Heath (1981) found that fear of crime is related to th e proportion of the newspaper devoted to crime. Liska and Baccaglini (1990 ) found that fear of crime was greater in
39 middle aged white women. The researchers s uggested that the elev ated fear among this group was due to their overrepresentation as vi ctims on television news shows. In reality, middle-aged white women are less likely to be victimized than young, minority males. Elevated levels of fear in women have devastating effects on womenÂ’s feelings of independence and thwarts efforts to be powerful in a male dominated society. In Support of the Powerful The overrepresentation of violent indi vidual crime and underrepresentation of corporate and other forms of crime in the ne ws media has serious consequences. Several researchers emphasize that crime news suppor ts the interests of the powerful in our society (Hall et al, 1978; Barlow et al 1995a) and diverts public attention away from the enormous impact and costs associated with crimes committed by the elite and powerful members of society (Wright et al 1995, Hills, 1987; Reiman, 1998). Â“Equating crime with violence, rather than recognizing it fo r what is most often is-the acquisition of property-distorts the property relations in capitalist society, which makes most crimes so conspicuously rationalÂ” (Barlow et al, 1995a: 10). In addition to failing to take into consideration the links between crime and unemp loyment, the news media rarely if ever suggests that macro-social conditions are the source of the crime problem (Barlow et al 1995b). Marxist media critics emphasize that the media has become the means by which the Â“havesÂ” of society gain the willing support of the Â“have-notsÂ” in order to maintain the status quo (Rodman, 2001). In other words, the mass media distract people from the Â“realÂ” problems existing in society such as poverty, racism, sexism, and the like in order to emphasize the threats of individual and vi olent predators. Crime has never been abolished but the federal government has succe eded in expanding its capacity to police
40 the nation through the identific ation of public enemies and the creation of new crimes (Potter, 1998). In recent years, the media has focuse d its attention on a handful of corporate scandals, namely Enron and Martha Stewart. While the media can be credited with providing the public with information regarding such incidents, there has been a limited amount of critical dialogue concerning these ty pes of corporate crimes. The focus in both cases has been on individual accountability and not on the corporate, economic, and social climate which often encourages such behavior. The Mass Media and Corporate Crime Several researchers have estimated that th e costs of corporate crime in terms of direct financial costs to consumers exceed s $2 billion annually (Clinard and Yeager, 1980; Kappeler et al, 1996; Simon and Eit zen, 1993). Despite the enormous costs associated with corporate crime, the media generally ignores or underestimates the costs of corporate crime (Hills, 1987; Kappeler et al, 1996; Reiman, 1998). Additionally, a large number of studies have suggested that the human costs in terms of death and injuries due to corporate crime are greater than those associated with street crime (Bierne and Messerschmidt, 1991; Clinard and Yeag er, 1980; Frank and Lynch, 1992; Kappeler et al, 1996; Michalowski, 1985; Reiman, 1998). The costs in terms of dollar amount and human injury/death due to corporate crime is enormous, yet there is very little attention directed toward this type of crime from the media, the public, politicians, and even within academia. Calavita and Pontell (1994) suggest th at even if corporate crime is depicted as a threat in media reports, it is generally de scribed as a threat to business and economic interests rather than consumer, empl oyee, and environmental interests.
41 Criminologists who study white-collar crime in its various forms realize that it is much more complex and more difficult to reduce to numbers than street crime. Just as there is relatively little media coverage of corporate crime, a limited number of studies have examined representations of corporat e crime in the media (Evans and Lundman, 1983; Lofquist, 1997; Lynch et al, 1989; L ynch et al, 2000; Morash and Hale, 1987; Randall, 1987; Randall and Lee-Sammons, 1988; Sw igert and Farrell, 1980; Wright et al, 1995). The research indicates that reporters a ppear to have an inadequate and simplistic understanding of the complexity of corpor ate crime (Levi, 1994; Randall, 1987; Randall et al, 1988) and are unlikely to conceptualize corporate devi ance as Â“crimeÂ” (Lynch et al, 1989; Wright et al, 1995). Evans and Lundman (1983) a nd Morash and Hale (1987) examined cases of non-violent corporate crime. News coverage in both cases was limited and accounts directed attention toward indivi dual responsibilities or secondary causes rather than organizational malfeasance (Hills, 1987; Morash and Hale, 1987; Wright et al, 1995b). Lofquist (1997) compared newspaper covera ge of two widely reported crimes that occurred in Rochester, New York in 1994. The first case involved the disappearance of Kali Ann Poulton, a 4 year-old girl, while the second case centered on the collapse and flooding of a large salt mine owned by Azko Nobe l Salt. The cases were similar in that they occurred in the same year, in the same area, and it was unclear as to whether they were actually accidents or crimes. Detailed analyses of news coverage of these events revealed that the media immedi ately depicted the missing chil d as a victim of stranger abduction, despite the fact that stranger abduc tions are rare cases. Family members or acquaintances are most likely to be responsible for child abductions. In the case of the
42 mine collapse and subsequent flooding, desp ite overwhelming evidence of corporate negligence, the media described the event as an Â“accidentÂ”. Lofquist (1997: 256) concludes that the media is responsibl e for creating and reproducing hegemonic understandings of events. In ot her words, the media chooses to fill in the gaps in ways which protects the dominant social structure and points the finger at individual actors as responsible for such criminal events. In th e case of Kali Ann Poulton, the media created a social reality that suggest s that our children are in gr ave danger of pathological strangers rather than calling into questi on the dangers of poverty, illiteracy, poor education, poor health care and the like (Lofquist, 1997). In the case of corporate negligence, Lofquist highlights that Â“o rganizational wrongdoi ng is obscured; the weakness of regulation and of media scrutiny limits th e likelihood of Â‘naming and blamingÂ’ and allows a vocabulary of Â‘accidentÂ’ to prevailÂ” (258). Research on media c overage of corporate violence is even more limited. According to Lynch et al. (1989) the American media is reluctant to socially construct corporate violence as crime. Wright et al (1995: 22) stresses that Â“how the media constructs corporate violence can affect whethe r it will be conceptua lized and treated as a crimeÂ”. Swigert and Farrell (1980) examined newspaper coverage of corporate violence in reference to the Ford Motor CompanyÂ’s Pi nto scandal. FordÂ’s failure to recall the Pinto resulted in numerous injuries and d eaths to consumers. Reporters initially portrayed the cases as indicative of accidents and not corporate violen ce. News coverage gained momentum when it was discovered that Ford officials were aware of the mechanical defect and refused to recall the Pinto (Dowie 1977). Swigert and Farrell
43 (1980) contend that media attention to the case contributed to FordÂ’s eventual indictment and prosecution on charges of reckless homicide. Even in cases in which evidence of cor porate violence is clear and convincing, the media still has difficulty linking such behavior wi th crime. Wright et al (1995) analyzed newspaper coverage of a fire at the Imperial Food Products plant in North Carolina. The fire resulted in 25 deaths and over 55 injuries. It was widely reported that the exit doors had been locked or barricaded by the owner; there was no plant-wide working sprinkler system; no windows; too few exits; and the plant had never been inspected by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administratio n). Wright et al (1995) reasoned that the case provided a unique opportunity to study th e mediaÂ’s reactions to corporate violence. The evidence of corporate malfeasance was strong, the physical harm severe, and the case ended in charges of manslaughter. Ofte n, in cases of corporate violence, a clear individual offender is difficult to find (Clin ard and Yeager, 1980). Wr ight et al (1995) conducted a content analysis of 10 major city newspapers. Nine of the ten papers covered the fire but new covera ge dwindled substantially over the days following the fire. The news coverage focused mainly on the enormous death and physical harm caused by the fire and the suffering and damage to th e community. But although the incident was immediately perceived to be an act of corpor ate violence, the media did little to link such actions with crime (Wright et al, 1995). The deaths were not depict ed as homicides nor was the possibility of prosecution raised until after the government indicated its intent to prosecute. Even when the case officially b ecame a crime, news coverage still did not depict the actions as criminal. Â“Instead of a potential crimin al offense, the news reports socially constructed the work er deaths as a breakdown in government safety regulationÂ”
44 (Wright et al, 1995: 32). Consequently, the c overage did not transform the public reality of corporate violence as crime. Furtherm ore, the limited coverage of the manslaughter convictions did little to edu cate the public or produce dete rrent effects (Wright et al, 1995: 32). Lynch, Stretesky a nd Hammond (2000) argue that crime news is constructed not only by what is said about co rporate crime, but by what is left out. That is, the public image of crime is shaped by the nonreporti ng of corporate crime. Underreporting the extent of corporate crime and, at the same time overreporting on crimes the public fears the most, both shape th e fear of crime. The Mass Media and the Environment For the most part, the mediaÂ’s interest in the environment and related issues is cyclical (Gaber, 2000). There is a great deal of media c overage during environmental disasters and industrial catastrophes but the attention quickly fades until the next crisis occurs (Anderson and Gaber, 1993). Conse quently, there is almo st no media dialogue concerning the true causes of such envir onmental devastation. Furthermore, mass mediaÂ’s focus on spectacular events prevents sustained coverage of the more serious environmental problems facing our society (DeLuca, 1999). The role of the mass media in the histor y of environmentalism has not received a great deal of attention (Neu zil and Kovarik, 1996). Ponder (1 986) examined the role of the media in environmental dialogue during th e Progressive Era and suggested that the media were active in calling for environmental reform on the federal le vel. According to Neuzil and Kovarik (1996), Â“from the muckra kersÂ’ work in the public health reform movements to scientific and political fights to conserve western lands and resources, journalists participated in many environmental controversies of their eraÂ” (1996: xxi).
45 The influence and popularity of televi sion in the 1960s had a great impact on environmental awareness (Neuzil and Kovari k, 1996). Although the mainstream media had little or nothing to do with environmenta l legislation in the 1970s research suggests that alternative media outlets and activists had a great deal of impact on the creation and implementation of federal environmental po licy during that time (Neuzil and Kovarik, 1996). Prior to the creation and enactment of federal environmental legislation in the 1970s, specialized environmenta l publications and professional inte rest groups were calling for political involvement in environmental issues at the national level. The mainstream media gave attention to e nvironmentalism and environmental policy after the legislation was already in place (Str odhoff, Hawkins, and Schoenfeld, 1985). Critical media attention toward corporati ons in the early 1970s, spurred by the consumer movement and actions of Ral ph Nader, angered and outraged corporate leaders. In addition to pouring millions into elaborate PR campaigns and lobbying efforts, corporations launched a savage cam paign against the media. Corporate leaders attacked the media, suggesting that the media had a significant bias against business. In 1980, corporate leaders were succes sful in electing a national administration dedicated to wiping out a half century of social legisl ation and regulation of business (Bagdikian, 2000). Today, with ownership of the mass medi a in the hands of just six corporations, media reporting is heavily weighed in favor of corporate values. In the past few decades, the public has been inundated with specialty environmental magazines, books, and cable tele vision shows and channels. According to American Opinion Research, Inc. (1993) by 1993, more than two-thirds of the nationÂ’s medium and large newspapers had reporters sp ecializing in covering issues involving the
46 environment. Despite the growth in envir onmental awareness across the media, political, and public realms, most media information fo cuses on what individu als can do to save the environment. The mass media has aided co rporations and the pol iticians in creating a consumer culture that advocates individual re sponsibility for protec ting the environment. According to a Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting survey which analyzed source attributions in news articles relating to e nvironmental issues, fift y percent of all quotes come from government officials (McDona ld, 1993). The next largest percent of environmental quotes came from industry and the lowest pe rcentage, 4%, from environmental groups. Consequently, environmen tal issues, as depicted in the media, are presented in government and corporate terms. The media then rarely questions the structural components that have led to environmental harm. Radical Environmental Groups and the Media Environmental organizations have utilized a wide range of ta ctics to gain media attention and publicity for environmental i ssues. Greenpeace was one of the first environmental groups to recognize the power of the mass media to pub licize their efforts. Since 1971, environmental activists have perf ormed thousands of Â“image eventsÂ” in support of environmental issues including chaining themselves to whaling harpoons, plugging waste discharge pipes, and formi ng human blockades to stop trucks from transporting hazardous waste (DeLuca, 1999). Memb ers of Earth First! have sat in trees, blockaded roads, and chained themselves to logging equipment. In many ways, these environmental activists have been successful There is a ban on commercial whaling and ocean dumping of nuclear waste and activists have successfully blocked the placing of
47 several garbage and hazardous waste incinera tors. Environmental groups have gained more public visibility and public support for environment issues. Despite the number of successes achieve d by these radical groups, they have a very uneasy relationship with the media and more often than not, these radical environmental groups are depicted as crazy, de viant, and Â“disturbers of orderÂ” (Parenti, 1993). Corporations have filed lawsuits against many environmental activists. Many activists have been the victims of vandalism, death threats, and serious violence. For example, on September 17th, 1998, David Chain, an Earth Fi rst! member was crushed to death by a redwood when an angry Pacific Lumb er logger continued to fell trees despite the presence of protesters (Goodell, 1999). Corporate leader s, politicians, and the FBI have labeled many activists as terrorists, even activists who themselves have been victims of threats (DeLuca, 1999). According to Lois Gibbs, founder of the Love Canal Home Owners Association and later, founder of th e Center for Health, Environment, and Justice, states that Â“people have been fo llowed by private detectives, had their homes broken into. IÂ’d say 40 percent of people prot esting toxic waste sites and incinerators around the country have been in timidated (Helvarg, 1994: 651). Radical environmental groups maintain that confrontational efforts and orchestrated image events are the only ma jor ways to achieve massive publicity and support. Elected officials, corporate lead ers, and corporations all enjoy enormous advantages over environmental groups in terms of access to the media and control of their image, which Â“is due in no small measure to the fact that media themselves are giant corporations with a vested in terest in the status quoÂ” (D eLuca, 1999: 20). Image events are intended not only to bring attention to a particular imminent environmental issue;
48 they are intended to contest th e hegemonic discourse of indu strialism that dominates our society (DeLuca, 1999). Image events though ar e rarely recognized as working for social structural change. Â“News mediaÂ’s emphasis on the new, its quest for the novel, forces groups to perform even more outrageous events in order to get coverageÂ” (DeLuca, 1999: 92). Radical environmental groups are in a difficult position. In order to get public attention, they must rely on the media to cover environmental issues. The media will only give radical environmental groups attention when the st ory is exciting and dramatic. The confrontational tactics utilized by radi cal activists often come across as crazy and desperate. Mainstream environmental groups are a great source of animosity for radical environmental groups. Mainstream groups appe ar to be working for the environment in socially and politically appropr iate channels and therefore co me across as diplomatic and responsible engineers of environmental pr otection. Despite th eir public image as supporters of the environment, most mainst ream groups are aligne d with corporations, industry, and government. ItÂ’s almost impossibl e to tell them apart. For example, Jay Hair, former president of the National Wild life Federation now does public relations for Plum Creek Timber (Cockburn, 1997). J ohn Sawhill, president of the Nature Conservancy, appears in Genera l Motors ads which tout the shared goal of Â“safeguarding the environment without destroying jobs or businessesÂ” (DeLuca, 1999). Mainstream groups, as allies of government and industry, often adopt anti-envir onmental initiatives (Cockburn, 1995; Dowie, 1995; Sale, 1993). They advocate and promote market solutions to environmental problems and ra rely, if ever, challenge the industrial exploitation of nature (DeLuca, 1999). The government, corporate leaders, and the media
49 frame radical environmental groups in negative terms because they fear the disruption of their power and privilege (G itlin, 1980). The media understands environmental issues, groups, and disasters through the discour se of industrialism (DeLuca, 1999). Environmental columnist Edward Flatteau stated that Â“there are exceptions, but publishers are basically hostile to environmental protection. ItÂ’s a threat to their business. Their economic lifeblood comes from advertis ing revenues and that means conspicuous consumptionÂ” (Jacobson, 1998: 48). Media Reporting of Environmental Crime There are only a handful of studies th at have examined media coverage of corporate crime and even fewer studies have examined media coverage of environmental crime. Lynch, Nalla, and Miller (1989) anal yzed media coverage of the Union Carbide lethal gas leak in Bhopal, India, which re sulted in the immediate deaths of over 2,000 people. The authors compared articles and pictorial representations of the event as depicted in American and Indian magazines. American magazines portrayed the event as an Â“accidentÂ” or as a disaster and labeled Un ion Carbide as a victim Conversely, Indian magazines labeled the event as a crime and portrayed Union Carbide as the negligent offender. Similarly, Lynch, Stretesky, and Hammond (2000) emphasize that most environmental problems and disasters (i.e. pollution, hazardous waste dumping/siting) are described in the news media as accidents. In addition, the authors suggest that it is common to depict environmental pollution as the Â“price we pay fo r technologyÂ” (Lynch et al, 2000: 115). Lynch et al (2000) found that only 8 (1.5 %) of 544 cases of chemical crimes in Tampa were actually reported in the Tampa Tribune. Of the eight articles discussing chemical crimes in Tampa, two i ndicated that the crimes were accidents and
50 the other six articles suggested that poor i ndividual decision-maki ng was the cause of the chemical incidents. Furthermore, while th ere were only 47 homicides in Tampa in 1995, there were 88 articles on these particul ar homicides and 4,089 articles concerning homicide in general. Overal l, the study found that there wa s no discussion of corporate negligence in news media coverage of envi ronmental crime in Tampa. The authors conclude that more research is necessary in order to determine the prevalence across news media outlets of neglecting and i gnoring corporate crim e, in particular. Problems with Reporting Environmental Risk, Harm, and Crime The mass media rarely unites issues of th e environment, crime, and public health. One reason the media often avoids presenti ng information regarding environment risk and harm has to do with the complexity of the information. Environmental risk, harm, and crime are complex, multi-faceted, and d eeply rooted in our political economy. Therefore, risks from dramatic or sensational causes of injury, illness, or death such as accidents, homicides, and natural disasters te nd to be greatly overestimated while risks from environmental toxins and pollutants tend to be greatly underest imated (Lichtenstein et al, 1978). News media coverage of drama tic and sensational examples contributes to the difficulties of obtaining a proper perspe ctive on environmenta l risks (Combs and Slovic, 1978). Psychological research demonstr ates that peopleÂ’s be liefs change slowly and are extraordinarily persistent even in the face of contrary evidence (Nisbett and Ross, 1980). Consequently, public opinion is diffi cult to change. With constant media attention to random violent encounters and lack of exposure to the extent and severity of environmental harms, it is unlikely the public will regard environmental risks as serious.
51 In addition to problems encountered in re porting the complexity of environmental harm, other difficulties further impede media coverage of environmental issues. Reporters often rely on journalistic preceden ce when reporting information. The lack of precedence and lack of understanding of environmental harms has an impact on reporting. Environmental issues are not black and white and someti mes there are no clear victims and offenders. And since the govern ment focuses very little attention on environmental issues, the media often regard s such issues as less important and not newsworthy (Simon, 2000). Environmental risk, harm, crime, and justice are considered too difficult, too time-consuming, and too expensive to cover (DeLuca, 1999). According to Tom Winship, form er editor of the Boston Globe Â“there isnÂ’t a Â‘Stop the presses!Â’ kind of development on the envir onmental story everyday. This is not event coverage. We need to persuade the media to cover the environmental story consistently. Sure, itÂ’s a slow story, but theyÂ’ve got to change their attitudes about what makes a storyÂ” (Hertsgaard, 1990: 16-17). Conclusion While Â“street crimeÂ” is given more than its fair share of media, political, and enforcement attention, Â“white collarÂ” crime is generally ignored unless the consequences of such corporate actions re sults in several immediate d eaths, affects hundreds or even thousands of lives, and costs several hundred m illions of dollars (i.e. Enron). Even then, media attention is terminal. Headlines and l eading news reports favor the isolated violent encounter. Although both Â“street crimeÂ” and Â“white collarÂ” crim e involve violence, victims, offenders, and injury, Â“street crim eÂ” is more sensational and simplistic and therefore, more appealing for copy than the often misunderstood and more injurious
52 Â“white collarÂ” variety. The media, our gove rnment and our justice personnel convince us that street crime is rampant and that we ar e all potential victims; worst case scenarios dominant our thinking and app ear to be the norm. Conse quently, voters are affected by this slanted portrayal. Over the past twenty years, weÂ’ve become extremely adept at waging war against street criminals. Each year we build more and more jails and prisons. The war on street crime has diverted our atte ntion away from the more serious problem of white-collar crime and corporate crime, de spite recent headlines devoted to coverage of Enron and Martha Stewart. As long as we conceptualize street crime as the major criminal threat to society we will continue to ignore far more deadly, costly, and destructive crimes of corporate America. This cultural image of our crime problems is fed by the media, politicians, and crime speci alists who emphasize the growing epidemic of the war on drugs, school violence, workpl ace violence, terrorism, and the like. In essence, murder by gun, knife, or other wea pon is considered horrendous while murder by unsafe working conditions, pollution, and defective products is accidental and therefore, not as problematic or deserving of public attention. To compound the problem, many of the individuals who commit white collar offenses are the very same individuals who have the power, resources, and influence to shape laws and determine where much of our federal and state money goes. White-c ollar crime doesnÂ’t fit prevalent stereotypes of Â“realÂ” crime hence it is not given as mu ch attention by the media, politicians, the public or academics. Media attention to environmental crim e and its impact on the environment and human health is lacking. Given the importan ce of the media in creating public awareness and garnering attention for certain social problems, it is essential for researchers to
53 examine media coverage of environmenta l crimes. There is no single type of Â“environmental crimeÂ”; consequently, resear ch focusing on environmental crime must selectively examine a more narrow range or pa rticular type of environmental offense and offender. Chapter Four introduces and descri bes one of the most polluting industries in the United States: the Petroleum Refining Industry.
54 Chapter Four The Petroleum Refining Industry Introduction The petroleum refining industry is one of the leading manufacturing industries in the United States. Oil and natural gas are our biggest source of energy in the United States (65%) (American Petroleum Institute 2004). Our nation uses two times more petroleum than natural gas or coal and four times more than nuclear power or renewable energy (Department of Energy, 2004). Oil is a valuable commodity and few individuals realize just how many products come from o il including gasoline, heating oil, plastics, diesel fuel, jet fuel, rubber, nylon, kerosene, tires, asphalt and even crayons. Chapter Four describes the current status of the petroleum refining industry; emphasizes the environmental and human health hazards asso ciated with the industry; discusses the industryÂ’s environmental compliance history; and presents the lite rature related to petroleum refining industry violations. On ly one study to date has examined media coverage of petroleum refi ning industry violations. Current Status of the Petroleum Refining Industry The United States is currently one of the largest producers and consumers of crude oil in the entire world. According to the Department of Energy (1998), in 1995, the United States was responsible for 23% of worl d refinery production. Almost fifty percent of the oil we consume is produced in the United States (American Petroleum Institute,
55 2004). Americans continue to consume about two-thirds of the wo rldÂ’s oil production. Domestic production has declined but demand c ontinues to soar. In the early 1980s, our country had a record high of 324 refineri es and produced approximately 18.6 million barrels of oil per day. Today, the number of American oil refineries has decreased due to changes in oil prices, a shift to altern ate fuel uses, and a focus on conservation (Envirotools, 2004). Oil is a finite resource and accordingly pr oduction will eventually rise to a peak, which can never be surpassed. Once the p eak has been passed, production will decline until oil resources are depleted. This p eak effect is known as the Hubbert Peak (EcoSystems, 2004). According to a study c onducted by Dr. C.J. Campbell on behalf of Petroconsultants (the most comprehensiv e database on oil re sources outside of continental North America), world oil reached the midpoint of oil depletion in 1999. The study cautions that we are not r unning out of oil but we are running out of low cost, easy access oil that has fueled the economic development of the twentieth century (EcoSystems, 2004). The only companies a significant way from their midpoints or Hubbert Peaks, are the major Middle Eastern oil producers. Consequently, the likelihood of a global crisis similar to the oil crisis of 1973 is eminent. The United States has found it increasi ngly difficult to balance diplomatic relations with Arab oil-producing nations while continuing to aid Israel (Foner and Garrarty, 1991). The petroleum refining indus try faces some economic pressures with respect to increased costs of labor, comp liance with new safety and environmental regulations, and the closing of small refineries. However, despite these pressures, total refinery output has remained steady and demand is increasing (EPA, 1995a).
56 The petroleum refining industry is comp rised of a very small number of companies and facilities. According to the Census Bureau (1997) there are approximately 242 petroleum refineries in the United States. The EPA, which only includes larger facilities, estimates that th ere are 150 petroleum-refi ning facilities in the United States (EPA, 2004c). Table 2 presents the top U.S. companies with petroleum refining operations. While smaller refineries comprise half of the total number of refineries, they only produce approximately 14% of the total crude distillation capacity (EPA, 1995a). Most petroleum is refined and produced by large, integrated companies. The majority of facilities are located near crude oil sources which are concentrated along the Gulf Coast and in heavily industrialized areas on the east and west coasts. According to the Department of Energy (1998), 78% of th e crude oil distillati on capacity is located in just ten states. According to the 2001 Annual Survey of Manufacturers (Census Bureau, 2001), 101, 452 people are employed by the petroleum refining industry. In 2001, the value of shipment products sold by the refining industry totaled over $219 billion, which was approximately 5.5% of th e entire U.S. manufacturing sector. Table 2: Top U.S. Petroleum Companies 2002 Exxon-Mobil BP Royal Dutch/Shell Chevron Texaco TotalFinaElf Conoco Phillips Environmental Hazards Associated w ith the Petroleum Refining Industry There are numerous air, water, and soil hazards associated with the petroleum refining industry and their processing met hods. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (2001), the petr oleum refining industry is on e of the major sources of
57 pollution in the United States. The petroleum refining industry is the largest industrial source of volatile organic compounds; the seco nd largest industrial source of sulfur dioxide; and the third largest industrial source of nitrogen oxides. Air pollutants include BTEX compounds (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene); carbon monoxide; hydrogen sulfide; sulfur dioxide ; and methane (Envirotools, 2004). Air emissions are the result of equipment malfunctions, combusti on processes, and transportation errors. Water pollutants contaminate the ground and su rface water. Several refineries use deepinjection wells for disposal of wastewater In many cases, this wastewater ends up polluting aquifers and groundwater Soil pollution is generally the result of oil spills and landfill usage. Air, water, and soil pollu tants generated by the petroleum refining industry are directly related to a wide range of human health and environmental problems. Many of these toxic and hazardous air, water, and so il pollutants are known cancer-causing agents and are also responsible for liver damage a nd cardiovascular impairment. Human health consequences of exposure to petroleum refinery air pollutants also include gastrointestinal toxicity, kidney dama ge, blood disorders, reproductive and developmental toxicity, pulmonary disorder s, polyneuropathy, cataracts, and anemia (EPA, 1995b). Benzene exposure is associated with aplastic anemia, multiple myeloma, lymphomas, pancytopenia, chromosomal breakage, and weakening of bone marrow (EPA, 1995b). In addition to causing a pletho ra of human health problems, exposure to pollutants generated by petroleum refineries causes a great deal of worry and fear among residents living near petrol eum refining operations.
58 The decline in domestic crude oil output over the past decade has led to the demand for opening up additional areas for expl oration and production. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. According to a National Academy of Sciences report (2003), since oil was discovered, the environment has been substant ially damaged due to refining operations. The future of the Arctic National Wildlife Re fuge is in jeopardy. Oil industries spend millions lobbying legislators for reducing environmental standards and opening up additional areas for oil expl oration. From 1992 to 1996, auto and oil industries gave more than $56 million in campaign contributions (U.S. PIRG, 1999). In 1998, auto and oil industries spent more than $90.9 million on lobby expenditures with Mobil, Exxon, and ARCO leading the way (U.S. PIRG, 1999) In addition, member of Congress who supported bills to overturn EPA air emissi ons standards received 76% more campaign contributions than members of Congress w ho did not support such legislation (U.S. PIRG, 1999). Environmental Compliance According to the EPA (1995a), the pe troleum refining industry has a larger proportion of facilities in violation and with enforcement actions than any other industrial sector. The EPAÂ’s Petroleu m Refining Compliance History analysis, which reviewed industry enforcement and compliance from August 1990 to August 1995, also found the following: Almost all facilities were inspected from 1990-1995 and on average, every three months. Facilities with one or more enforcemen t actions over the five-year period had, on average, eight enforcement actions brought against them.
59 Of all the industrial sectors, the petroleum refining industry was the most frequently inspected. The rate of enforcement actions per inspect ion for the petroleum refining industry is high and has changed little over the past year. Clean Air Act violations were the most common. According to the EPAÂ’s Toxic Release I nventory, which contains information on toxic chemical releases and other waste ma nagement activities, the petroleum refining industry released and transferred over 480 million pounds of pollutants in 1993 (EPA, 1995a). The petroleum refining industry is far above average in its po llutant releases and transfers per facility when compared to ot her industry facilitie s (EPA, 1995a). Table 3 presents TRI information from 1993 for the petroleum refining industry. Table 3: Petroleum Refining Industry TRI information, 1993 Year 1993 Percent of total pounds of TRI releases/transfers by all manufacturers 11% Mean amount of pollutants releas ed per facility 404,000 pounds (3.4 times more facility releases than other industries) Mean amount of pollutants transfe rred per facility 2,626,000 pounds (13 times more facility transfers than other industries) Percent of total poundage releas ed to air by the petroleum refining industry 75% Percent of total poundage released to the water by the petroleum refining industry 24% Number of chemicals released or transferred by the petroleum refining industry 103 Environmental regulations have had a tremendous impact on the operations of the petroleum refining industry. Refineries have been forced to invest in upgrading their refining processes to reduce emissions. Th e refining industry has spent billions on complying with environmental regulations (L ichtblau, 1992). However, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (2001), e nvironmental laws and regulations do not
60 stand in the way of expanding American o il refining capacity. American Petroleum Institute data indicates that oil refineries spend approximately one penny per gallon on clean air controls. Although the costs of complying with environmental laws have escalated in the past two decades, profitabil ity has also been increasing. Oil companies are posting record profits (Natural Resour ces Defense Council, 2001). Joint ventures, mergers, and mega-mergers have allowed o il companies to reduce their costs by sharing operations and assets with other companie s (Department of Energy, 2003). Â“Pollution abatement operating costs have been and contin ue to be a small part of overall operating costsÂ” and play a small role in the deteri oration of cash margins in U.S. refining and marketing (Department of Energy, 1997). Petroleum Industry Violations Only a few studies to date have examin ed petroleum refining industry violations (Randall and DeFillippi, 1987; Lynch, Stretesky, and Burns, 2004a, 2004b). Recently, Lynch, Stretesky, and Burns (2004a) examined wh ether petroleum refineries that violated environmental laws in Black, Hispanic, and lo w-income areas were more likely to receive smaller fines than refineries in White and more affluent communities. The authors found that Â“Black and low-income communities a ppear to receive less protection (via the deterrence goal of monetary penalties) from the EPA than areas with high concentration of White and high-income residentsÂ” (Lync h et al, 2004a: 436-437). The mean penalty for noncompliance in Black census tracts ($108,563) was mu ch lower than in White census tracts ($341,590) and the mean penalty for noncompliance in low income census tracts ($259,784) was lower than in high in come census tracts ($334,267). In a similar study examining petroleum re finery violations from 20012003, the authors found that
61 refineries in Hispanic and low income zip c odes received lower penalties than refineries located in non-Hispanic and more afflue nt zip codes (Lynch, Stretesky, and Burns, 2004b). The authors conclude that penalty disparities are not th e result of the seriousness of the violation, number of past violations, facility inspection hist ory, facility production or EPA region but are the result of unequal protection of environmental laws for low income and minority communities (Lynch, Stretesky, and Burns, 2004a). Media Coverage of Petroleum Refining Industry Violations According to Randall and DeFillippi (1987) the media virtually ignored the oil industry prior to the early 1970s. However, following the oil embargo in 1973, the media and thus the public began to sc rutinize the oil industry with mo re fervor than ever before. By the end of the 1970s, the oil industry ha d been accused of direct involvement in several incidents of illegal and unethical prac tices. Industry leaders angrily protested that the media had an anti-business slant. Lead ing corporate crime researchers, Clinard and Yeager (1980) stated that Â“t he history of the oil industry has been characterized by the oligopolistic domination of the industry by a few massive corporations able to cooperate in controlling worldwide supplie s and their distribution and thus to influence prices in a noncompetitive manner and a tendency for the federal government to defer to the power and interests of the industryÂ”. Studies examining media coverage of petr oleum refining industry violations are virtually nonexistent. Randall and DeFill ippi (1987) examined patterns of media coverage of the 25 largest American oil firms from the late 1970s. The authors hypothesized that corporations wi th greater net sales, more fr equent violations of law, and more serious offenses would receive great er media attention than corporations with
62 lesser net sales, few law violations, and less se rious offenses. Data were drawn from the Clinard-Yeager dataset for 1975-76, MoodyÂ’ s Industrial Manual for 1975, and news indexes for 1975-1976 (Wall Street Journal, Television News Index, and ReaderÂ’s Guide to Periodic Literature). Randall and DeFillippi Â’s (1987) content analysis revealed that the media attention was greater based primarily on the seriousness of the offense rather than the net sales of the firm or the frequency of offenses. The authors concluded that there was a Â“systematic media bias toward overs ampling the most serious and undersampling the least serious oil firm viol ationsÂ” (40). Their results ar e not surprising considering the mediaÂ’s tendency to focus on the most serious violations of law across administrative, civil, and criminal categories. Conclusion Randall and DeFillippi (1987) offer one of the first and only studies of media coverage of oil company misconduct. For the most part though, their study is descriptive and offers little insight into what factors, ot her than perceived seriousness of the offense, result in greater media coverage. Furthermor e, their data is draw n from oil industry and news source information from the late 1970s, over 25 years ago. In the past twenty-five years, there has been almost no academic inqui ry into media coverage of the petroleum industry or on coverage of industry violat ions. The present st udy examines media coverage of federal petroleum refining industr y violations in addition to examining the nature and distribution of this type of environmental crime. Chapter Five presents the data collected and methods utilized in the present study.
63 Chapter Five Data and Methods The purpose of the present study is threefold: (1) to determ ine the nature and distribution of petroleu m refining industry violations; (2) to examine media coverage of petroleum refining industry violations and enforcement actions and determine whether media reporting is influenced by any specific ca se characteristics; and (3) to determine the impact of legal and extra-legal fact ors on fine amounts meted out to petroleum refineries found guilty of violating e nvironmental protection statutes. In order to accomplish these goals, data on media coverage of petroleum refinery violations, petroleum refinery violations, and community ch aracteristics of areas where violative petroleum refineries were located were collected. News articles from twentyfive leading American newspapers were empl oyed as the source for media reporting data. Data on petroleum refinery violations and ar ea characteristics were collected from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). De scriptive statistics, content analysis and multiple regression were utilized to analyze the data. Research Questions To facilitate investigation of the issues described above, a series of research questions were devised. These questions are as follows: 1. What is the nature and dist ribution of environmental crime as indicated by federal petroleum refining violations?
64 2. What is the nature and dist ribution of mainstream news media reporting of federal petroleum refining violations? 3. Which factors lead to greater news media coverage of petroleum refining violations? 4. Are petroleum refining industry penalty assessment decisions affected by the racial and socioeconomic composition of the communities surrounding the violating facility? Do ot her factors influence penalty assessment decisions? Data Data for the present study were co llected for the years 2001-2002 from the Environmental Protection Agency and for the years 1997-2003 from the LexisNexis database. Cases in the EPA database refl ect cases settled or initiated in 2001-2002, consequently, some cases were initiated as ea rly as 1997. The first step in this research was to identify all environmental violations by petroleum refineries using data from the EPA. Once identified, each case was searched in the LexisNexis data base in order to locate newspaper articles that reported on know n oil refinery violations. The following sections describe the specific databases and the variables drawn from each case and article. Environmental Protection Agency Established in 1970, the Environmental Pr otection Agency (EPA) is the federal agency responsible for protecting human health and the environment by overseeing, developing and enforcing environmental po licies and regulations. The EPA has an operating budget of over $7.6 billion and em ploys over 17,600 employees, making it the largest federal regulatory agency in the United St ates. Of particular interest in the current
65 research is the EPA office of Compliance a nd Enforcement Assurance (OECA) which is responsible for compliance assi stance, monitoring, incentives, and auditing as well as civil and clean-up enforcement. The goal of OECA is to maximize compliance and reduce threats to public health and the envir onment through coordinate d efforts with state and local governmental agencies. EPA comp liance and enforcement efforts are managed by a number of various sub-agencies includi ng the Federal Facilities Enforcement Office (FFEO); Office of Compliance (OC); Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics, and Training (OCEFT); Office of E nvironmental Justice; Office of Federal Activities; Office of Planning, Policy Analysis and Comm unication (OPPAC); Office of Regulatory Enforcement, and the Office of S ite Remediation Enforcement. Compliance and Enforcement Data: ECHO The data used in the present study were collected from the EPAÂ’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) system. ECHO supplies compliance and enforcement data for over 800,000 regulated facilities nationwide and includes information pertaining to permits, inspectio ns, violations, enforcement actions, and penalty information covering the past two year s. ECHO data includes violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA) for stationary sources the Clean Water Act (CWA) for facilities with direct discharge permits (under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, NPDES), and the Resource Conser vation and Recovery Act (RCRA) which includes information on generators/handlers of hazardous waste. Data on four key enforcement actions can be found in ECHO data (EPA, 2004a): 1. The number of EPA inspections, and vol untary compliance or self-reported violation and pollution emission reports;
66 2. The number and types of violations (noncompliance); 3. The occurrence of a government enforcemen t action to address violations; and 4. Penalties associated with enforcement actions. The data for the present study were a ccessed through the EPA enforcement case search, which provides access to federal civil enforcement data tracked by the Integrated Compliance Information System (ICIS). ICIS is a multi-statute case activity tracking and management system for EPA administrative and civil judicial enforcement cases. Case information is supplied and updated by case atto rneyÂ’s in the EPAÂ’s Office of Regional Counsel and the Headquarters Office of Regulatory Enforcement (EPA, 2004b). Data included in the present study were selected based on Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system code 2911, which includes facilities in the petroleum refining industry engaged in producing ga soline, kerosene, distillate fu el oils, residual fuel oils, and lubricants through fractional or straight distill ation of crude oil, redistillation of unfinished petroleum derivatives, or crack ing or other processes (OSHA, 2004). In addition, cases were included in the present study if they were initiated or concluded between January 1997 and January 2003. Boundi ng the time period yielded 162 cases. Using ECHO, a detailed case report summary of enforcement activity, and a detailed facility report was pr oduced for each facility. Info rmation was gathered on the following variables.
67 Company Information : Data were gathered on co mpany name, address, city, state, zip code, and latitude and longitude. Thes e data were used to identify each facility, and to allow each facility to be associated with Census data. Case Type : Enforcement cases were either admi nistrative or j udicial. It is important to distinguish between cases resolved by judicial or administrative means. For example, it is possible that judicial cases are more likely to receive higher penalty assessments due to the fact they were not resolved without co urt intervention. In contrast, administrative decisi ons are typically rendered wh en the corporation and the EPA reach an informal agreement concerni ng an appropriate solution to the alleged violation. Thus, it could be hypothesized that because judicial cases are more likely to receive higher fines and compliance costs, that they are also more likely to receive media coverage, especially if the civil action is costly Voluntary Disclosure : For each case, the EPA indicates whether or not the case was the result of a facility self-disclosure or an EPA enforcement action. Theoretically, it could be hypothesized that the EPA is likely to be more leni ent with facilities that self report law violations, and that it is more likely to require compliance without assessing a penalty. In addition, self-discl osed cases that result in fina ncial penalties are more than likely to receive a lower penalty assessmen t than cases discovered through the EPA inspection process. Multi-media: The EPA records whether or not th e facility was in violation of more than one environmental statute. If th e facility was in violat ion of more than one environmental statute during an inspection, th e case is considered to be a multi-media
68 case. Penalties should be higher in cases i nvolving more than one environmental statute violation. Case Status : Cases were either coded as closed/c oncluded or in process/other. No penalty amount can be determined for cases without enforcement outcomes, consequently some data will be coded as missing. Medi a reports, however, may be available for ongoing cases. Case Outcome: Case outcomes fall under one of six categories; final order with penalty, final order with no penalty, source ag rees, unilateral admini strative order without adjudication, combined with another case, or undecided. The outcome may impact both the reporting and penalty determination for each case. Number of Violations and Laws Violated : For each case, the EPA provides a list of the number of violations under each envir onmental statute. While most cases focused on violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), and/or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCR A), other environmental statutes were also included in the case information, in cluding the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Emergency Planning and Co mmunity Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Roden ticide Act (FIFRA), and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Cases that included multiple law violations were coded according to the number of laws violated. It is plausible that penalty assessment and media coverage will vary along with the seriousne ss of a violation, the number of violations, and the type of law violated.
69 Federal Penalty Sought and Assessed, Compliance Amount, and SEP Amount : Data were collected on the federal penalty s ought and the amount assessed in each case. According to the EPA, the compliance amount is Â“the combination of the injunctive relief and the physical or nonphysical costs of re turning to compliance. Injunctive relief represents the actions a regulat ed entity is ordered to undertake to achieve and maintain compliance, such as installing a new polluti on control device to reduce air pollution, or preventing emissions of a pollutant in the first placeÂ” (EPA, 2004d). The compliance amount also includes the costs as sociated with civil court ac tions. In addition, data on the amount each facility paid into the Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) was also collected. SEP was enacted by the EPA in orde r to give the defendant the opportunity to reduce the penalty assessed for a violat ion. The defendant/respondent agrees to undertake a particular action as stipulated in the orde r or decree resolving the enforcement action. A SEP is done voluntarily and is negotiated to reduce penalties. CAA, CWA, and RCRA Information: Data were collected concerning the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Re source Conservation and Recovery Act for major permits, inspections, enforcement actions, penalty assessed, state inspections, current significant non-compliance, and numb er of quarters of non-compliance over the past two years. 1. Permits: Each facility is coded as having a major CAA, CWA, and/or RCRA permit, a minor permit, or no permit. 2. Inspections: The number of EPA inspections that have occurred at the facility, under the corr esponding statute, within the last two years.
70 3. Enforcement Actions: The number of enforcement actions that have occurred at the facility, under the corresponding statute, within the last two years. 4. Penalty Amount Assessed: The amount of penalty assessments that have occurred at the facility, under the corresponding statute, within the last two years. 5. State Inspections: The number of state inspections that have occurred at the facility, under the corre sponding statute, within the last two years. 6. Significant Non-Compliance Violations : Indicates whether or not the facility is in signifi cant non-compliance viola tion of the corresponding statute within the last two years. 7. Quarters of Non-compliance: The nu mber of quarters (out of 8) the facility has been in non-co mpliance for each statute. 8. Demographic Information for Each Faci lity: For each facility, information was collected for the following demo graphics; percent minority, percent African-American, percent Hispanic, and percent below poverty within a three mile and five mile radius of th e violating facility, and for the county and state where the vi olation occurred. LEXISNEXIS News Information In order to examine news coverage of petroleum refining industry violations, newspaper articles published on cases liste d in the EPAÂ’s ECHO data between 1997 and 2003 were collected from the LexisNexis data base. LexisNexis contains articles from over 25 widely circulated newspapers (see Appendix A). A guided news search was conducted utilizing a wide range of search terms in order to re liably identify news articles covering petroleum industry viol ations during the search tim e frame. General search terms included the following: EPA, oil, petrol eum, violations, and fi nes. In addition to general searches, each of the companies included in the ECHO databases were searched
71 for by name in the LexisNexis database. Arti cles not pertaining dir ectly to the petroleum industry violations under examination were co llected in order to pr ovide a more detailed picture of media coverage of the petroleum industry. Each article was examined for the follo wing information: article location (i.e. front page, business section, etc.); article type (news, editorial, etc.); word count, headline keywords, companies named, and article themes Articles pertaining directly to cases included in the present study we re content analyzed in orde r to determine which factor led to greater news media coverage of petroleum refining industry violations. Methods of Analysis Descriptive statistics were tabulated for re search questions one and two in order to describe the nature and dist ribution of environmental crimes as indicated by federal petroleum violations and the nature and dist ribution of mainstream news media reporting of the federal petroleum violations. Research question three invol ves a content analysis of the news articles that reported on the federal petroleum refining viol ations included in the present study. The purpose of the content analysis is to describe the factors that led to greater coverage of the violations and to describe the latent c ontent of the news reporting. Content analysis generally involves examining the manifest a nd latent content of the data. Manifest content refers to the obvious surface content of the data while the latent content refers to the meaning underlying what is stated. Both ma nifest and latent content analysis were utilized in the present study. Research question four involved the use of multiple regression. Multiple regression is used to account for (predict) the variance in the dependent variable, based
72 on linear combinations of the independent variables. In other words, multiple regression is utilized to estimate the proportion of th e variance in the dependent variable, and determine whether selected independent va riables make a significant contribution towards explaining that variance while holdi ng constant competing explanations (i.e., represented by other indepe ndent variables). The R2 can be used to judge the validity of the independent variables as a set of estimator s. The variable estimates (b coefficients and constant) are used to c onstruct a prediction equation, and estimate effect sizes. Multiple regression is based on several underlying assumptions (Pedhazur, 1997): 1) normal distributions, 2) lin earity of relationships, and 3) homoscedasticity. Regression assumes that variables have normal distribu tions and that the relationship between the independent variable and the dependent variable is linear in nature. In order to check for normal distribution and nonlinearity, histogram s and scatterplots were examined. The data presented a non-normal distribution and a non-linear pattern. In order to obtain a more normal distribution and provide a better linear fit, logistic tr ansformations of the dependent variables were conducted. Logistic transformation allows for a more normal distribution and linearizes the fit as much as possible (Pedhazur, 1997). The main drawback of log transformations concerns complicating interpretation of the results. Homoscedasticity means that the variance in e rrors is the same across all levels of the independent variable. In the present st udy, homoscedasticity was checked through a visual examination of a plot of the standard ized residuals by the re gression standardized predicted value. Several regression models were estima ted. The dependent variable was the logged penalty difference. Pr evious research has concentr ated on predicting the fine
73 levied by the EPA against oil refineries that violate e nvironmental statutes (Lynch, Stretesky and Burns, 2004a, 2004b). These st udies indicate that community race and class characteristics have a significant eff ect on total EPA penalty assessed. The present study investigates this relati onship further by examining the impact of community race and class characteristics on pe nalty departure. Penalty departure is the difference between the EPA recommended penalty and the final assessed penalty. The distribution of this variable was nonlinear and non-nor mal. A log transformation approximated a more normal, linear variable. The independent variables used to pred ict penalty departure included both legal and extra-legal factors. Le gal factors included: volunt ary disclosure, number of violations, type of violat ion (CAA, CWA, RCRA), majo r and minor violations and permits, number of violations, and Supplemen tal Environmental Project contributions. Extra-legal factors consisted of community race, class and ethnic concentration measures (percent minority, percent African-America n, percent Hispanic, and percent below poverty) representing the characte ristic of people living within three-mile and five mile radii surrounding facilities. Tests for mean racial, ethnic and class variation that measured the difference between county and/ or state racial, ethnic and class composition and local area (3 and 5 mile) racial, ethnic and class composition were also tested. These tests were used to assess whethe r racial, ethnic or class com position per se, or variation in racial, ethnic and class composition relative to larger aggregations (counties and states) might better account for penalty departure.
74 Study Limitations Before proceeding to the anal ysis and results, it is usef ul to address the limitations of the present research. One of the greatest concerns for researchers studying crime in its various forms is the likelihood that not all cr imes are reported, meaning that any official measure of crime contains some measurement bias. For example, researchers routinely conduct crime analyses and make predicti ons based on the Uniform Crime Reports. While the UCR may provide some of the most reliable statistics on crime in comparison to other surveys (a debatable suggestion), th ere are still a wide range and number of crimes excluded from the survey. The UCR only reports on crimes known to police The same problem exists in the present study. The data collected only report crimes committed by the petroleum refining industry known to the EPA It is widely noted that official reports underestimate the actual amount of crime (Sherman, 1998; MacDonald, 2002); consequently, the nature and distributi on of environmental crime as depicted by petroleum refining industry viol ations may be biased. This problem may be compounded by the fact that, EPA enforcement and compliance efforts are heavily influenced by the political climate and budgetary commitments. Consequently, in some years increased enforcement initiatives may be the direct resu lt of political pressure while in other years, budget cuts and other concerns may mi sdirect environmental concerns. While secondary data analysis presents a wide range of advantages for social science research inquiry (Bachman and Schu tt, 2001), there are also a number of disadvantages which have an impact on the da ta and analyses in the present study. For a number of cases, the EPA did not report data fo r a range of variables. In some cases, the EPA case was still open and consequently data was missing for good cause. In other
75 cases, the data was listed as unavailable desp ite numerous attempts to retrieve the data. Missing data does have an impact on the st udy results and even more so due to the limited range of cases included in the present study. In the future, researchers engaging in similar research should contact the EPA in order to request missing data. Furthermore, the range of cases can be increased in orde r to analyze a greater number of cases which lessens the impact of missing data. Another serious limitation in the presen t study has to do with the very small number of news articles collected with reference to petroleum refining industry violations. In the future, studies should widen their search para meters in order to increase the potential for wider news coverage. The present study did not ta ke into consideration othe r factors that influence penalty assessment decisions. For example, the EPA or the judge (depending on whether the case is administrative or judicial) may ba se their decisions on personal biases that cannot be readily or easily observed and ther efore there is no method by which to control for these other factors. Finally, the relationships, if any, discovered through th e use of regression models cannot demonstrate causality. First, the re gression may be inefficient predictors of penalty departure, and important independent variables may have been omitted from consideration. Second, the Â“cau salÂ” relationships measured here cannot be directly observed, but are inferred from the direction and strength of the statistical relationship. For example, if penalty departures are in fluenced by community class factors, this implies that the EPA has somehow considered community factors in reaching a penalty
76 decision, There is, however, no overt evidence of this influence that can be garnered from the present study of aggregate trends.
77 Chapter Six Results Introduction The following chapter presents the resu lts for the four re search questions discussed in the previous chapter. Overall, the present study found that petroleum refining industry is responsible for a great d eal of environmental crimes; media coverage of petroleum refining violations is virtually non-existent; certain factors contribute to the likelihood of news coverage; and that penalty amounts are disproporti onately distributed by racial characteristics. Research Question #1 What is the nature and distri bution of environmental crim e as indicated by federal petroleum refining violations? Company Information The Environmental Protection Agency ECHO database returned one hundred and sixty-two cases. Seventy-eight separate comp anies were involved in the 162 cases. Of these seventy-eight companies, sixteen companies (20.5% of all companies) were involved in three or more EPA cases (represent ing a total of 81 cases or 50% of all cases) from 2001-2002 (see Table 4). Twelve companies (15.4% of all companies) were involved in two EPA cases (representing a tota l of 24 cases or 14.8% of all cases) from
78 2001-2002 (see Table 5). The remaining fifty co mpanies were involved in one EPA case from 2001-2002. Table 4: Companies with Three or More EPA Cases in 2001-2002 (N=16) Company Name Number of Cases Koch Industries 10 Chevron 9 Shell Oil 8 Motiva Enterprises 7 BP Amoco 6 Marathon Ashland 5 Clark Refining and Marketing 5 Conoco, Inc 4 Cross Oil Refining and Marketing 4 Crown Central Petroleum 4 Sunoco, Inc 4 E.I. DuPont 3 Mobil Oil 3 PRC Patterson 3 Sun Company Inc 3 Tosco Refining Company 3 Table 5: Companies with Two EPA Cases in 2001-2002 (N=12) Company Name Berry Petroleum Cyril Petrochemical Double Eagle Refinery Company Fina Oil and Chemical Texaco Montana Refining Company Murphy Oil USA Navajo Refining Company Phillips Petroleum Quantum Realty Company Reichhold Chemicals Inc. Ultramar Diamond Sh amrock Corporation Violating facilities were lo cated in thirty states acro ss the country with the most cases occurring in Texas (42) followed by Okla homa (14) and Califor nia, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania (each with 11 cases). Table 6 presen ts the location of the violating facilities by state and percentage that this number represents in the total number of cases.
79Table 6: Location of Violating Facility by St ate and Percentage of Total Cases*(N=162) State Number of Cases per state Percent of Total per state Texas 42 25.9 Oklahoma 14 8.6 California, Louisiana, Pennsylvania 11 6.8 Illinois 9 5.6 Delaware 8 4.9 Arkansas 7 4.3 Puerto Rico 6 3.7 Minnesota 4 2.5 Michigan, North Dakota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Utah, Virginia 3 1.9 The following states had two or fewer violating f acilities: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, M ontana, New York, Ohio, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. Overall, federal petroleum refining violation data indica tes that a large number of petroleum refining companies are in violation of federal viol ation statutes. Furthermore, half of the cases (81) involved companies with more than one violation committed from 2001-2002. The data also indicate that violati ons occur in a majority of states which operate petroleum refining facilities. A more detailed discussion of th ese results will be presented in Chapter Seven. Case Type Cases were coded as either administrative or judicial (civil). Most cases were resolved by the EPA without court interven tion (127 cases or 78.4%). The remaining 35 cases (21.6%) involved j udicial intervention. Voluntary Disclosure For each case, the EPA indicates whethe r or not the case was the result of a facility self-disclosure. Only 21 cases (13%) involved self-disclosure.
80 Multi-media The EPA records whether or not the facili ty was in violation of more than one environmental statute. Most cases involved one violation (142 cases or 87.7%) while 20 cases (12.3%) involved viol ations of two or more environmental statutes. Case Status Although a large proportion of cases (115 or 71%) were settled or closed from 2001-2002, a number of cases (47 or 29%) were initiated during this time period and remained open or undecided. Case Outcome Case outcomes were divide d into six categories (see Ta ble 7). Most cases (102 or 63%) received a final order with penalty with the remaining 60 cases falling under one of the five additional categories. Table 7: Case Outcomes with Frequencies and Percentages (N=162) Case Outcome Number Percent Final Order with Penalty 102 63.0 Final Order with No Penalty 11 6.8 Source Agrees 9 5.6 Unilateral Administrative Order with No Adjudication 15 9.3 Combined with Another Case 10 6.2 Undecided 15 9.3 Number of Violations For each case, the EPA provides a list of specific violations committed by the facility for each environmental statute. Wh ile the majority of facilities (113 or 69.8%) violated just one environmental statute, th e remaining forty-nine facilities were in violation of more than one envi ronmental statute (see Table 8).
81Table 8: Number of Violations per Facility with Frequencies and Percentages (N=162) Number of Violations Frequency Percentage of Total 1 113 69.8 2 25 15.4 3 10 6.2 4 7 4.3 5 1 .6 6 5 3.1 9 1 .6 Laws Violated The majority of cases involved violati ons of the Clean Air Act (CAA; N = 74; 45.7%), the Clean Water Act (CWA; N = 39; 24.1%) and/or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA; N = 22; 13.6%). Table 9 provides the frequencies and percentages of the six other environmenta l statutes included in the present study. Table 9: Frequency and Percent of Environmental Statute Violations (N=202) Environmental Statute Frequency Percentage of Facilities in Violation CAA 74 45.7 CWA 39 24.1 RCRA 22 13.6 CERCLA 26 16.0 TSCA 12 7.4 EPCRA 26 16.0 FIFRA 2 1.2 SDWA 1 .6 Federal Penalty Sought and Assessed Data were collected on the amount of th e federal penalty sought and the amount assessed in each case. Of the 162 cases, 57 cases (35.2%) did not list information pertaining to penalty sought. The EPA s ought a total of $61,788,724 from 105 facilities with a range from $0 to $9,500,000. The average penalty sought was $588,464 when the highest penalty amounts sought (2 x $9,500,000) were included in the calculations. Excluding the two highest penalties sought the EPA sought a total of $42,788,724 from 103 facilities, or an average penalty s ought of $415,424. The average amount sought by
82 the EPA is skewed by the high amounts assessed to a small number of facilities therefore it is important to examine the penalty am ount sought by the EPA in terms of the frequency and percentage by dollar range (see Table 10). In 43.2 percent of the cases (70), the EPA sought less than $100,000 in fine s. For a small number of cases (12 or 7.5%) the EPA sought more than a million dollars in fines. Table 10: Penalty Amount Sought By the EPA by Dollar Range (N=105) Dollar Range Number of Cases Percentage of Cases $0 6 5.7 $1-$10,000 20 19.0 $10,001-$99,999 44 41.9 $100,000-$500,000 18 17.1 $500,001-$1,000,000 5 4.8 $1,000,001-$5,000,000 9 8.6 $5,000,001-$10,000,000 3 2.9 In terms of the federal penalty assess ed, 55 cases (34%) did not list information pertaining to penalty assessed. The EPA assessed a total of $49,942,407 from 107 facilities with a range of $0 to $9,500,000. The average penalty assessed was $466,532 when the highest penalty amounts asse ssed ($9,500,000 and $6,000,000) were included in the calculations. Excluding the two highest penalties assessed, the average penalty assessed was $328,023. Table 11 presents the fr equencies and percen tages of penalty amount assessed by the EPA by the dollar range In 48.1 percent of the cases (79), the EPA assessed less than $100,000 in fines. For a small number of cases (11 or 6.8%) the EPA assessed more than a million dollars in fines. Table 11: Penalty Amount Assessed By the EPA by Dollar Range (N=107) Dollar Range Number of Cases Percentage of Total Cases $0 11 10.3 $1-$10,000 36 33.6 $10,001-$99,999 31 29.0 $100,000-$500,000 14 13.1 $500,001-$1,000,000 4 3.7 $1,000,001-$5,000,000 9 8.4 $5,000,001-$10,000,000 2 2.0
83 Compliance Amount In 34 of the 162 cases, the EPA assessed compliance costs against the violating facility. Compliance costs include injunctive relief costs and costs associated with returning the violating facility to compliance with EPA statutes. Information pertaining to compliance costs was missing for 50 cases (30.9 %) due to case status (open/undecided). Seventy-eight facilities (48.1%) were not assessed any compliance costs. Compliance costs for the remaining 34 facilities (21%) ranged from $5 to $550,000,000. Total compliance costs assessed by the EPA equa led $1,506,698,706. In eighteen of the thirty four cases (52.9%), the EPA assessed comp liance costs of $1,000,000 or less (in twelve cases (35.3%), the EPA assessed compliance co sts of $5,000 or less). In the remaining sixteen cases (47.1%), the EPA assessed co mpliance costs of greater than $1,000,000. Of these sixteen cases, 10 cases (29.4%) i nvolved compliance costs between $9,500,000 and $22,000,000 while the highest five compliance co st cases (14.7) were assessed costs ranging from $80,000,000 to $550,000,000. Due to the vast difference in the range of compliance costs, the average compliance cost is misleading ($44,314,668) due to the extremely high amounts assessed to five of the violating facilities. These five facilities alone comprise $1,397,000,000 of the total compliance costs of $1,506,698,000 or 93.7% of the total. SEP Amount The Supplemental Environmental Project wa s enacted by the EPA in order to give the violating facility the oppor tunity to reduce the penalty assessed for a violation. The violating facility agrees to undertake a particular action as stipulated in the order or decree resolving the enforcement actions. Due to open or undecided cases, SEP amount
84 data was missing for 49 cases (30.2%). No SEP amount was negotiated for 87 cases (53.7%). Twenty-six cases (16.1%) involve d negotiation and assessment of an SEP amount. SEP amounts ranged from $1,000 to $7,500,000. The total SEP amount assessed equaled $26,854,509. Of the twen ty-six cases assessed SE P amounts, eleven cases (42.3%) were assessed less than $31,000. Eight cases (30.8%) were assessed more than $31,000 but less than $1,000,000. Seven cases (26.9%) were assessed more than $1,000,000 in SEP costs and of those seven cases three cases (11.5%) were assessed SEP costs in excess of $5,500,000. CAA, CWA, and RCRA Information Data were collected pertaining to facility permits, EPA inspections enforcement actions, penalties assessed, state inspectio ns, current significant non-compliance, and number of quarters of non-compliance over the past two years (2003-2004) for each facility, for the Clean Air Act, the Clean Wa ter Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. With respect to major permits, number of EPA inspections, number of EPA enforcement actions, and EPA penalty amounts, data were missing for 33 cases (20.4%). With respect to number of state in spections, current significant non-compliance, and number of quarters non-compliance, data were missing for 34 cases (21%). Missing data were the result of undecided cas es or a delay in EPA data entry. Table 12 presents the number and fre quencies of CAA, CWA, and RCRA major permit holders in 2003-2004. The majority of the companies were major RCRA permit holders (97.7%) while approximately thre e-quarters (74.4%) were major CAA permit holders. A little over half (55.0%) of the companies were major CWA permit holders. Sixty-five cases (50.4%) invol ved companies with all three major permits. Twenty-nine
85 cases (22.5%) involved comp anies with major CAA and RCRA permits. Ten cases (7.8%) involved companies with major CW A and RCRA permits. There were no cases involving companies with just CAA and CWA major permits. Table 12: CAA, CWA, and RCRA Major Permits 2003-2004 (N=129) Major Permit Number of Cases Percentage of Cases CAA, CWA, RCRA 65 50.4% CAA and RCRA 29 22.5% CWA and RCRA 10 7.8% CAA only 2 1.6% RCRA only 23 17.8% EPA Inspections Table 13 presents the number and fre quencies of inspections conducted by the EPA from 2003-2004. A large number of companies were not inspected for CAA violations (54.3%), CWA vi olations (49.6%), or RCRA violations (48.4%). When combining the percentage of inspections for the CAA, CWA, and RCRA, approximately one-third of the companies were inspect ed by the EPA for CAA, CWA, and RCRA violations from 2003-2004. Eight companies (6 .3%) were inspected more than three times for CAA violations; twenty-five comp anies (19.4%) were inspected more than three times for CWA violations; and thirty co mpanies (23.2%) were inspected more than three times by the EPA for RCRA violations. Table 13: CAA, CWA, and RCRA Number of EPA Inspections 2003-2004 (N=129) Number of Inspections CAA CWA RCRA 0 70 (54.3%) 64 (49.6%) 63 (48.4%) 1-2 51 (39.5%) 40 (31.0%) 36 (27.9%) 3-4 6 (4.7%) 15 (11.6%) 15 (11.6%) 5 or more 2 (1.6%) 10 (7.8%) 15 (11.6%) Enforcement Actions Table 14 presents the number and freque ncies of enforcement actions initiated by the EPA for CAA, CWA, and RCRA viol ations from 2003-2004. For the CAA, most
86 companies had no enforcement actions ( 75.2%), although 18 companies (14.0%) had one enforcement action and 14 companies had 2 or more enforcement actions (10.5%). For the CWA, the vast majority of companies had no enforcement actions (96.1%) while 5 companies (3.9%) had one or more enforcement actions. For RCRA, the majority of companies had no enforcement actions (88.3 %) although nine companies (7.0%) had one enforcement action and six companies (4.7%) had two enforcement actions. Table 14: CAA, CWA, and RCRA Number of EPA Enforcement Actions 2003-2004 (N=129) Number of Enforcement Actions CAA CWA RCRA 0 97 (75.2%) 124 (96.1%) 114 (88.3%) 1 18 (14.0%) 2 (1.6%) 9 (7.0%) 2 5 (3.8%) 2 (1.6%) 6 (4.7%) 3 or more 9 (7.0%) 1 (.7%) 0 (0.0%) Comparisons of the inspection and enfor cement data reveal that 54.2 percent of CAA inspections resulted in an enforcement action, 7.7 percent of CWA inspections resulted in an enforcement action, and 22.7 pe rcent of RCRA inspections resulted in an enforcement action. Penalty Amounts Table 15 presents the number and freque ncies of penalty amounts assessed by the EPA for CAA, CWA, and RCRA violati ons from 2003-2004. For the CAA, most companies (82.2%) had no penalty assessments four companies (3.1%) were assessed less than $10,000 in fines, five companies (3.8%) were assessed fines ranging from $10,001-$100,000, four companies (3.1%) were assessed fines ranging from $100,001$1,000,000, and one company (.7%) received a fine in excess of $1,000,000. For the CWA, all but two companies (98.4%) received no penalty assessments. One company (.7%) was assessed a penalty of less than $10,000 while the other company received a
87 fine in excess of $1,000,000. For RCRA, most companies (93%) received no fines from the EPA while four companies (3.1%) were assessed less than $10,000 in fines and three companies (2.3%) were ordered to pa y fines ranging from $10,000 to $1,000,000. Table 15: CAA, CWA, and RCRA EPA Pena lty Amounts Assessed 2003-2004 (N=129) Penalty Amount CAA* CWA* RCRA* $0 106 (82.2%) 127 (98.4%) 120 (93.0%) $1-$10,000 4 (3.1%) 1 (.7%) 4 (3.1%) $10,001-$100,000 5 (3.8%) 0 (0.0%) 2 (1.6%) $100,001-$1,000,000 4 (3.1%) 0 (0.0%) 1 (.7%) $1,000,001 or more 1 (.7%) 1 (.7%) 0 (0.0%) Range of penalty amounts for CAA: $0-$4,395,407; CWA: $0-$4,500,000; RCRA: $0-$205,866 Table 16 presents the number and freque ncy of inspections conducted at the state level for the CAA, CWA, and RCRA from 2003-2004. State inspections were conducted more frequently than federal inspections. For the CAA, forty companies (31.3%) had no inspections, 31 companies (24.2%) had 1-3 in spections, eighteen companies (14.1%) had from 4-6 inspections, and 31 companies (25 %) had more than 7 inspections. For the CWA, over half of the companies (53.1%) we re never inspected by the state from 20032004. Forty-eight companies (37.5%) were inspected from 1-3 times and 12 companies (9.4%) were inspected over 4 times by the stat e. For RCRA, almost half of the companies (49.2%) were not inspected by the state wh ile forty-four companies (34.4%) had 1-3 inspections. Twenty-one cases (16.4%) were in spected by the state more than four times from 2003-2004. Table 16: CAA, CWA, and RCRA Number of State Inspections 2003-2004 (N=128) Number of State Inspections CAA CWA RCRA 0 40 (31.3%) 68 (53.1%) 63 (49.2%) 1-3 31 (24.2%) 48 (37.5%) 44 (34.4%) 4-6 18 (14.1%) 1 (.8%) 15 (11.7%) 7-9 9 (7.0%) 1 (.8%) 6 (4.7%) 10 or more 23 (18.0%) 10 (7.8%) 0 (0.0%)
88 When examining all inspections (by both the EPA and the state), the data reveals the following: in thirty cases (23.3%) no inspections were conducted by the EPA for CAA, CWA, or RCRA violations from 2003-2004; in thirty-n ine cases (24.1%) no inspections were conducted by the EPA or the state for CAA violations from 2003-2004; in sixty-three cases (48.8%) no inspections were conducted by the EPA or the state for CWA violations from 2003-2004; and in sixt y-two cases (48.1%) no inspections were conducted by the EPA or the state for RCRA violations from 2003-2004. Significant Noncompliance Table 17 presents the number and freque ncy of companies determined by the EPA to be in significant non-compliance with the CAA, CWA, and RCRA. Sixty companies (46.9%) were in significant non-compliance w ith the CAA, four companies (3.1%) were in significant non-compliance with the CWA, and eight companies (6.3%) were in significant non-compliance with RCRA. Table 17: CAA, CWA, and RCRA Signif icant Non-Compliance 2003-2004 (N=128) Significant Non-Compliance CAA CWA RCRA YES 60 (46.9%) 4 (3.1%) 8 (6.3%) Table 18 presents the number and frequency of the quarters of non-compliance (out of 8) for the CAA, CWA, and RCRA from 2003-2004. Non-compliance can result from three conditions: (1) the company is found to be in current noncompliance with statutes; (2) the company has failed to re medy a past non-compliance finding; (3) the company has failed to file a compliance statement with the EPA. Sixty-two companies (48.4%) were in non-compliance for the C AA for 7 or 8 quarters while fifty-two companies (40.6%) had zero quarters of non-comp liance. Half of the companies (50.0%) had zero quarters of non-compliance for the CWA while fifteen companies (11.7%) were
89 in non-compliance for 7-8 quarters. Seventyfive companies (58.6%) had zero quarters in non-compliance with RCRA while thirty-f ive companies (27.3%) were in noncompliance for 7-8 quarters. Table 18: CAA, CWA, and RCRA Number of Qu arters of Non-Compliance 2003-2004 (N=128) Quarters of NonCompliance CAA CWA RCRA 0 52 (40.6%) 64 (50.0%) 75 (58.6%) 1-2 2 (1.6%) 18 (14.1%) 12 (9.4%) 3-4 7 (5.5%) 20 (15.6%) 4 (3.1%) 5-6 5 (3.9%) 11 (8.6%) 2 (1.6%) 7-8 62 (48.4%) 15 (11.7%) 35 (27.3%) Summary of Results for Research Question #1 Results of the descriptive statistics tabulated for resear ch question #1 on the nature and distribution of e nvironmental crime as indicated by federal environmental violations committed by the petroleum re fining industry indicate the following: 1. Violations of environmental statut es are frequent and widespread. 2. Thirty-six percent of companies were i nvolved in more than one EPA case from 2001-2002. 3. The majority of states (thirty) hosting petroleum refining ope rations had a least one refinery in violation of environmental statutes. 4. One out of every five cases involved judicial intervention. 5. Only a small number of cases (13%) i nvolved a facility self-disclosure of violations. 6. The Clean Air Act was the most frequently violated statute. 7. Over half (50.4%) of cases involved companies with major permits for the CAA, CWA, and RCRA.
90 8. Over twenty-three percent of cases invol ved companies with no inspections by the EPA or the state for violations of the CAA, CWA, or RCRA from 2003-2004. 9. Forty-seven percent of cases involved co mpanies in significant non-compliance of the CAA from 2003-2004. 10. Forty-eight percent of cases involved companies in non-compliance with the CAA for 7 or quarters of 2003-2004. Research Question #2 What is the nature and distri bution of mainstream news media reporting of federal petroleum refining violations? News articles from the LexisNexis database were collected from 1997 to 2003 corresponding with the earliest EPA initiated case in 1997 an d a year after the last case was initiated in 2002. A guided news search wa s conducted in order to obtain the expanse of news articles covering pe troleum refining violations du ring the search time frame. Each article was examined for the following in formation; article location, article type, word count, and case match. In addition, a c ontent analysis was conducted in order to determine which factors lead to greater ne ws media coverage of petroleum refining industry violations. Seventy-four articles were collected with reference to petroleum refining industry violations. Of these seventyfour articles, seventeen artic les (23%) corresponded directly with cases included in the EPA ECHO database The remaining fifty-seven articles (77%) reported on the petroleum refini ng industry but were not direc tly related to any of the cases included in the ECHO database.
91 All News Articles on the Petroleum Refining Industry Seventy-four news articles were collect ed with respect to the petroleum refining industry. Table 19 presents the year and number of articles collected during that year. The majority of articles appeared in 2000 ( 22 or 29.7%) or 2001 (25 or 33.8%), representing 63.5% of the total number of articles. Table 19: Number of News Articles on the Petroleum Refining Industry by Year (N=74) YEAR Number of Articles 1997 5 1998 2 1999 0 2000 22 2001 25 2002 9 2003 11 Articles appeared in twenty different news sources. Table 20 presents the news sources and the number of articles presente d by each source. The Houston Chronicle produced the most news articles (15 or 20.3%) followed by the Times Picayune (News Orleans) with 12 articles (16.2%) and the St ar Tribune (Minneapolis) and the New York Times with 7 articles each (9.5%). Together, articles from these four news sources (41) represent over half (55.5%) of the total number of articles. Table 20: News Sources and Number of Articles by Source (N=74) News Source Number of Articles News Source Number of Articles Atlanta Journal Constitution 2 San Diego Union Tribune 1 Chicago Sun-Times 5 San Francisco Chronicle 5 Daily News (New York) 2 Seattle Times 1 Denver Post 1 St. Louis Post 2 Houston Chronicle 15 Star Tribune (Minneapolis) 7 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 3 Tampa Tribune 2 New York Times 7 Columbus Dispatch 1 Pittsburgh Post Gazette 1 Time s Picayune (New Orleans) 12 Rocky Mountain News (Denver) 2 USA Today 1 San Antonio Express 1 Washington Post 3
92 Each article was examined for article lo cation. News articles appeared in one of four locations: 1) News (including Secti on A and National News), 2) Local News (including Section B, Metro, and Suburban) 3) Business (incl uding Money), and 4) Other (including editorials or Science). Table 21 presents the frequencies and percentages of news articles by the arti cle location. For each article lo cation, information was also gathered according to location of the article wi thin that specific subsection of the paper. Table 22 presents the frequencies and percentages of article locations within each of the four major categories. Over fo rty-four percent of the articles (33) appeared on the front page of the paper sub-section while over fort y percent of the articles appeared on page four or higher (30). Table 21: Frequencies and Percentages of News Articles by Article Location (N=74) Article Location Number and Percent of Total News (Section A/National) 29 (39.2%) Local (Section B/Metro) 21 (28.4%) Business (Money) 21 (28.4%) Other (Editorial/Science) 3 (4.5%) Table 22: Frequencies of News Articles by Sub-Section of Article Location (N=74) Location Front page Page 2 or 3 Page 4 or higher News 8 2 19 Local 11 5 5 Business 14 4 3 Editorial 0 0 3 Total 33 (44.6%) 11 (14.9%) 30 (40.5%) The majority of the articles were cons idered strictly Â“newsÂ” pieces (67 or 90.5%) while a small number of articles were consid ered either Â“news briefsÂ” (5 or 6.8%) or Â“editorialsÂ” (2 or 2.7%). Data were collected on the total word count for each article. Th e lengthiest article contained 5,729 words while the shortest artic le contained just 79 words. The average word count including the lengt hiest article was 630 words per article but excluding the
93 lengthiest article the average wo rd count drops to 568 words pe r article. Fifty-two articles (70.3%) contained less than 700 words while the remaining twenty-two articles contained 700 words or more (29.7%). Table 23 presents the frequencies and percentages of news articles by word count category. News papers ha ve varying guidelines in terms of column length and word count. On averag e, feature or front section ne ws stories will contain just over 1,000 words suggesting that the articles con cerning environmental crime are about half as long (568 words pe r article on average). Table 23: Frequencies and Percentages of News Articles by Word Count (N=74) Number of Words Number of Articles Percentage of Articles Less than 100 4 5.4 101-300 15 20.3 301-500 15 20.3 501-700 18 24.3 701-900 11 14.9 901-1,100 6 8.1 1,100 or more 5 6.8 Case Specific News Articles on the Petroleum Refining Industry The news data presented in the precedi ng paragraphs and in Tables 19 through 23 are reflective of all news articles collected on the petroleum refi ning industry from 1997 to 2003. A small number of articles (17 or 23%) pertained directly to one or more of the cases presented in the ECHO databases. Table 24 presents information pertaining to the company named in the article, the ECHO case number, and the number of articles addressing that specific case. Although only seventeen articles were directly related to the cases analyzed in the present study, a number of articles mentioned more than one company. For example, BP and Koch were reported on in four articles w ith Koch also mentioned in one additional article. Both Marathon Ashland and Motiva were reported on in three articles for each
94 company. Conoco (3 articles), Clark Refining a nd Marketing (2 articles), and Murphy Oil (1 article) were the only singular cases to be reported on in the news articles. Table 24: Company Name, ECHO Case Number, and Number of News Articles (N=17) Company ECHO Case Number News Articles Koch Petroleum Group 31 5* Koch Petroleum Group 55 5* Koch Petroleum Group 56 5* BP Exploration and Oil Company 32 4* BP Exploration and Oil Company 33 4* Marathon Ashland Petroleum 61 3** Marathon Ashland Petroleum 29 3** Marathon Oil Company, Inc. 28 3** Motiva Enterprises, LLC 62 3*** Motiva Enterprises, LLC 63 3*** Motiva Enterprises, LLC 64 3*** Conoco, Inc. 97 3 Clark Refining and Marketing Inc. 22 2 Murphy Oil USA, Inc. 24 1 All five cases concerning BP an d Koch were represented in four of the same articles (Koch had one additional article). ** All three cases concerning Marathon Ashland were represented in the three corresponding news articles. *** All three cases concerning Motiva were repres ented in the three corres ponding news articles. ECHO Case Information and Corre sponding Article Information Data are presented on the specific ECHO cases that appeared in news articles relating to the violation. In addition, informa tion from each article is presented below. A more detailed discussion of the latent conten t of the articles and case comparisons will be examined in the following Discussion Chapter. Clark Refining and Marketing Inc. (ECHO Case #22) (Two Articles) According to the EPA, Clark Refining and Marketing Inc. violated the CAA, CWA, RCRA, CERCLA, and EPCRA, at their refinery locate d in Blue Island, Illinois. The EPA filed a civil case ag ainst the company on September 9, 1998 and settled the case on June 12, 2002. The company did not voluntarily disclose the violations. The penalty amount sought by the EPA was not disclo sed but the EPA assessed the company $3,125,000 for the violations in addition to $1,450,000 in compliance costs.
95 Two news articles (from the St. L ouis Dispatch and the Washington Post) appeared on the date following the filing of the case by the EPA (9/10/1998). The first news article appeared in th e St. Louis Dispatch Metro se ction (word count = 717) and reported on a press conference attended by then Attorney General Janet Reno who announced that the Justice Department would be pursuing civil acti on against several oil companies for EPA violations, including Cl ark Refining and Marketing. The case was mentioned as part of the Mi ssissippi River Initiative, a fe deral effort to protect the Mississippi River. For the most part, the ar ticle focused on violations committed by Shell Oil Company (not included in the ECHO da tabase) but did men tion that Clark was responsible for violating a number of federal statutes including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Reactions from Clark official s were presented in the article. No penalty amounts were included in the article. The news article from the Washington Post, Section A, page 3, (word count = 1,001) was similar in content to the news ar ticle presented in th e St. Louis Dispatch. Again, quotes from then Attorney General Janet Reno were reported and an emphasis was placed on Shell Oil Company. Information pertaining to pollution of the Mississippi River was highlighted. Enforcement actions against Clark Refining and Marketing were mentioned very briefly, in just one sentence of the entire article. Conoco, Inc. (ECHO Case #97) (Three Articles) According to the EPA, Conoco, Inc. violat ed the CAA at their refinery located in Ponca City, Oklahoma and at eight other re fineries located across the United States, including a refinery in Commerce City, Colora do. The EPA filed a civil case against the company on December 21, 2001 and settled the case on February 20, 2002. The company
96 did not voluntarily disclose the viol ation. The EPA sought $1,500,000 in fines but assessed the company $824,000 in fines in addition to compliance costs of $80,000,000 and an SEP amount of $1,800,000. Three articles appeared on the same da y the case was filed by the EPA (12/21/01). Article sources included the Houston Chr onicle, the Denver Post, and the Rocky Mountain News (Denver). The news article from the Denver Post Metro section (word count = 536) focused on ConocoÂ’s violation of the CAA at the Commerce City, CO refinery. The article stated that Conoco agreed to pay over $22 million on air pollution controls at the Commerce City refinery and also mentioned a $145,000 civil penalty and $2.6 million SEP amount. State health official s, regional EPA officials, and community leaders were quoted in the body of the arti cle. Emphasis was placed on ConocoÂ’s quick reaction to comply with regul ations once the company becam e aware of the violations. Although the case against Conoco was judicial in nature, article statements imply that Conoco agreed to work with the EPA in order to avoid lengthy litigation. The second news article concerning C onoco appeared in the Rocky Mountain News, another Denver, Colorado publicati on. The article was reported in the Local section of the paper and contained 703 words. The body of the article was very similar to the information reported in the Denver Post Penalty amounts were reported and local officials were quoted. Again, emphasis was placed on ConocoÂ’s quick response to the pollution allegations and subsequent complia nce efforts. The article described the benefits to the community in terms of d ecreased air emissions and support for local environmental projects.
97 The third and final article addressing Conoco appeared in the Houston Chronicle Business section (word count = 243). The brief ar ticle stated that C onoco agreed to spend up to $110 million to reduce emissions at its va rious refineries located in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Montana. Similar to the two previous articles, the Chronicle article also reported on a $1.5 million civil penalty and a $5 million SEP amount. While the majority of the article addressed the EPA violations, the article also discussed ConocoÂ’s intentions to purchase interests in a natural gas pr oject off the Vietnam coast. Marathon Ashland (ECHO Cases #28, #29, and #61) (Three Articles) According to the EPA, Marathon Ashland violated the CAA, CWA, RCRA, and TSCA at their refineries located in Te xas, Illinois, Louisiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Minnesota, and Michigan. The judicial case was filed by the EPA on May 11th, 2001 and settled on August 28th, 2001. The EPA combined the cases for penalty assessment purposes. No cases were voluntarily disc losed. The EPA sought $3,800,000 in penalties and assessed $3,700,000 in penalties. In addition, Marathon Ashland was assessed $265,000,000 in compliance costs and agreed to pay $6,500,000 in SEP amounts. Three articles concerning the Marathon Ashland cases appeared the day after the EPA initiated its judicial cases against the co mpany (5/12/01). Articles appeared in the St. Louis Dispatch, the Star Tribune (Minn eapolis), and the Houston Chronicle. The article appearing in the St. Louis Dispatch was part of a section entitled Â“Nation and World BriefsÂ”; consequently the information re ported was very brief. The article stated that Marathon Ashland was assessed an estimated $265 million to install pollution control equipment at its refineries. The article listed the location of the viol ating refineries and
98 stated that Marathon Ashland was responsib le for a $3.8 million civil penalty and a $6.5 million SEP amount. The second article addressing Marat hon Ashland was reported in the News section of the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (word count = 607). The article stated that Marathon Ashland had Â“agreedÂ” to spend $265 million on pollution control equipment, a $3.8 million civil penalty, and a $6.5 million SEP amount. In addition, the article repeatedly addressed an Â“odorÂ” problem aff ecting the community located near the St. Paul Park refinery. The article reported the various ways in which Marathon Ashland is required to reduce pollution at its refineries and stated that several of the pollutants Â“have been associated with serious respirat ory problems and could exacerbate childhood asthmaÂ”. Although the case was not voluntar ily disclosed, a Marathon Ashland official stated that the settlement was voluntary and would avoid litigation. The article lists the other refineries included in the settlement and describes the lengthy violation history of the St. Paul Park Refinery. The third and final article concerning th e Marathon Ashland cases appeared in the Houston Chronicle Business sec tion (word count = 231). Like th e first article from the St. Louis Dispatch, the article is considered a Â“news briefÂ”. The article begins by stating that the cases against Marathon Ashland were Â“settledÂ” on the previous day although according to EPA data, the cases were actua lly filed on that day and settled several months later. Again, similar to the two previous articles, the Chronicle article reports penalty amounts and refinery locations. The article also addressed how new equipment would Â“help ease respiratory problems such as childhood asthmaÂ”. Attorney General John Ashcroft is quoted as stating that the settlement was Â“a vi ctory for the environmentÂ”.
99 Motiva Enterprises (ECHO Cases #62, #63, and #64) (Three Articles) According to the EPA, Motiva Enterp rises violated the CAA, CWA, RCRA, TSCA, and EPCRA at their refine ries located in Louisiana a nd Texas. The judicial case was filed by the EPA on March 21st, 2001. The EPA combined the cases for penalty assessment purposes. No cases were vol untarily disclosed. The EPA sought $4,400,000 in penalties and assessed $4,400,000 in penalties. In a ddition, Motiva was assessed $400,000,000 in compliance costs and agreed to pay $5,500,000 in SEP amounts. Three news articles appeared on the day following the initial filing of the case by the EPA (3/22/01). Articles were reported in the Houston Chronicle, the Time Picayune, and the Seattle Times. The Houston Chronicle article appeared in the News section, front page, and contained 733 words. The article immediately reported the high compliance amount ($400 million) assessed against Motiva for violations at nine refineries located in five states. The article also mentioned a penalty amount of $9.5 million and an SEP amount of $5.5 million and contained quotes fr om the EPA administrator and officials from the Department of Justice. While the article addresses violations committed by Motiva, other violating refine ries are also included. Descri ptions of the air pollutants released by the offending facilities are repor ted although there is no discussion of the related health concerns. The second article addressing Motiva a ppeared in the Times Picayune National news section (word count = 1,005). Again, like the previous articl e concerning Motiva, penalty, compliance, and SEP amounts are re ported. Quotes from prominent Louisiana environmental officials appear throughout the article. Then Attorney General John Ashcroft stated, Â“protecting our natural resour ces. .is a top priority for the Department
100 of JusticeÂ”. No mention is made about how human health is affected by pollution. The article addressed a criminal case pending ag ainst Motiva concerning alleged faulty record keeping. The third and final article addressing Motiva appeared in the Seattle Times Â“News Across the NationÂ” section (word count = 443). The article summarized the cases against Motiva and included a list of the offending refineries, the penalty/compliance/SEP amounts, and the amount of emissions that w ould be reduced under the case agreement. BP and Koch (ECHO Cases #31, #32, #33, #55, and #56) According to the EPA, BP Amoco violated the CAA and RCRA at their refineries located in CA, UT, LA, WA, ND, OH, IN, OK and VA. The judicial cases were filed by the EPA on January 18th, 2001 and settled on August 29th, 2001. The EPA combined the cases for penalty assessment purposes. The EPA sought $9,500,000 in penalties and assessed $9,500,000 in penalties. In addition, BP was assessed $550,000,000 in compliance costs. According to the EPA, Koch violated the CAA, CWA, RCRA, and EPCRA at their refineries located in Texas and Minnesota. The judici al cases were filed by the EPA on December 22nd, 2000 and settled on April 25th, 2001. The EPA combined the cases for penalty purposes. The EP A sought $4,500,000 in penalties and assessed $4,500,000 in penalties. In addition, Koch was assessed $102,000,000 in compliance costs. These cases are described together due to the fact they were reported on simultaneously in the following news articles. Four news articles addressed the viol ations committed by BP and Koch and one addition article addressed violations committe d solely by Koch. Articles appeared in the Houston Chronicle, the Washington Post, the Times Picayune, and the Star Tribune (2).
101 The article reported on in the Houston Chr onicle Business section (word count = 538) listed the 12 violating refineri es and 10 affected states incl uding local refineries in Texas City and Corpus Christi. Penalty amount s, compliance costs, and SEP amounts are reported and the article emphasized that th e almost $600 million compliance costs were the Â“largest enforcement agreementsÂ” related to air pollution in hist ory. Quotes from the EPA administrator were included and the comp anies were hailed for voluntarily initiating negotiations (although according to the EPA the violations were not self-reported). The article included a descripti on of the agreement stipulati ons and highlighted BP and KochÂ’s 15 percent total U.S. oil refining cap acity. The companies were praised for their Â“cooperativenessÂ”. The second article concerning BP and Koch appeared in the Washington Post in a Â“news briefÂ” (word count = 115). The high compliance costs ($600 million) are reported. The twelve violating refineri es are lists. And again, BP and KochÂ’s 15% of total oil refining capacity is reported. The third article concerning BP and Koch appeared in the Times Picayune Money section (word count = 708). The article is very similar to th e above mentioned articles in that it reported penalty, compliance, and SEP am ount, location of violating facilities, the 15% oil refining capacity, and descriptions of agreement stipulations. The article quotes the EPA administrator and viol ating company officials. The fourth article concerning BP and Koch appeared in the Star Tribune News section (word count = 825). The article included penalty amounts, compliance amounts, and quotes from the EPA administrator as we ll as the impact of emission reductions on the environment. Again, no mention of human health impacts were addressed.
102 The fifth article addressed violations committed solely by Koch and appeared in the Star Tribune News section (word count = 276). The article re ported on the penalty and compliance amounts as well as the re duction in terms of air pollutants. Summary of Results for Research Question #2 A detailed discussion of the content of ne ws articles analyzed in the present study will be presented in the next chapter. News articles on petroleum refining industry violations are similar in terms of reporti ng trends and themes. The overall image of federal petroleum refining viola tions as reported by news arti cles is misleading. Articles liberally quote government officials and comp any representatives but rarely, if ever, quote residents or victims of environmenta l crime. The overabundance of quotes from government sources suggests the problem is r eceiving a great deal of attention and that enforcement is a priority. Violations are reported in vague a nd general terms. An emphasis was placed on penalty amounts a nd compliance costs. Companies are often praised for cooperating with government offi cials. Environmental and human health concerns are either ignore d or downplayed. Articles do not equate environmental violations with criminal behavior. Research Question #3 Which factors lead to greater news cover age of petroleum refining violations? There is very little news coverage of federal petroleum refining violations. Very few ECHO cases receive any attention from the mainstream news media. Of seventy-four articles concerning petroleu m refining industry violations from 1997 to 2003, only 17 or 23% were directly related to the ECHO cases an alyzed in the present study. Overall, lack of news media coverage of federal petroleum refining indus try violations suggests that
103 the media considers such la w violations as rarely newsworthy. Although newspaper coverage of federal petroleum refining violations is lacking, the news articles that were reported suggest that certain factors lead to the likeli hood of greater news article coverage. These major factors include: 1) In itial date ECHO case was filed by the EPA, 2) Location of the violati ng refinery, 3) Large penalty, compliance, and SEP amounts assessed to the violating company by the EPA, and 4) Refining capacity. Initial Date of Case Filed by the EPA Of the seventeen articles addressing sp ecific ECHO cases included in the present study, twelve articles (70.6%) appeared in news sources on the same day the EPA case was filed or in the week immediately followi ng the initial case fili ng. In five articles (29.4%), the date the case was f iled or settled appeared to ha ve no direct correlation with the date the article appeared in the news s ource. No articles appeared on the day the case was settled by the EPA or on days immedi ately following the settlement. Table 25 presents the name of the company, the news article source, the cas e filing date, and the date the article appeared for the twelve cases with article matches for the date the case was filed. Table 25: Company, News Article Source, Case Filing Date, and Date Article Appeared (N=12) Company News Article Source Date Case Filed Date of Article Motiva Houston Chronicle 3/21/01 3/22/01 Motiva Times-Picayune 3/21/01 3/22/01 Motiva Seattle Times 3/21/01 3/22/01 Koch Star Tribune 12/22/00 12/27/00 Marathon Ashland Houston Chronicle 5/11/01 5/12/01 Marathon Ashland Star Tribune 5/11/01 5/12/01 Marathon Ashland St. Louis Dispatch 5/11/01 5/12/01 Conoco Houston Chronicle 12/21/01 12/21/01 Conoco Rocky Mountain News 12/21/01 12/21/01 Conoco Denver Post 12/21/01 12/21/01 Clark Refining and Marketing St. Louis Dispatch 9/9/98 9/10/98 Clark Refining and Marketing Washington Post 9/9/98 9/10/98
104 Location of the Violating Refinery News articles addressing fe deral petroleum industry violations were more likely to appear if a violating refi nery was located in the community in which the news source was primarily distributed. Th irteen articles (76.5 %) addressing the ECHO cases reported on the cases with specific re ferences to problems caused by local refineries. Only four news articles (23.5%) appeared in news pub lications with no ties to local violating refineries and two of these four articles appeared in the Washington Post. Table 26 presents the name of the company, news source, and the location of the violating refinery for the thirteen articles with local refineries. Table 26: Company, News Source, News Source City/State, and Location of Violating Refinery (N=14) Company News Source City/State Location of Violating Refinery Conoco Denver Post Denver, CO Commerce City, CO Conoco Rocky Mountain News Denver, CO Commerce City, CO Conoco Houston Chronicle Houston, TX Houston, TX* Marathon Ashland Star Tribune Minneapolis, MN St. Paul Park, MN Marathon Ashland Houston Chronicle Houston, TX Texas City, TX Murphy Oil Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Milwaukee, WI Superior, WI Motiva Houston Chronicle Houston, TX Port Arthur, TX Motiva Seattle Times Seattle, WA Anacortes, WA Motiva Times Picayune New Or leans, LA Norco, LA BP and Koch Houston Chronicle Houston, TX Texas City/ Corpus Christi, TX BP and Koch Times Picayune New Orleans, LA Belle Chasse, LA BP and Koch Star Tribune Minneapolis, MN Rosemont, MN Koch Star Tribune Minneapolis, MN Rosemont, MN Conoco had no violating facilities in Houston but the company headquarters are located in Houston. Large Penalty Amounts In sixteen (94%) of the seventeen articl es directly related to the ECHO cases, EPA penalty sought, compliance amount, and SEP amount were reported. The cases reported on in news articles were all ranked as the top cases in terms of the penalty sought, the compliance amount, and SEP amount Tables 27 presents the company, EPA penalty sought, and rank among all 162 ECHO ca ses in terms of the amount of the
105 penalty sought. Companies reported on in news articles were all ranked in the top ten (aside from Conoco which ranked 11) in terms of penalty amount sought. BP had the highest penalty amount sought ($9,500,000). Overa ll, cases reported on in news articles represented seven of the highest elev en penalty amounts sought by the EPA. Table 27: Company, Federal Penalty Sought, and Rank of Penalty Amount (N=162) Company Penalty Sought Rank of Penalty Amount BP $9,500,000 1 Murphy Oil $9,500,000 2 Koch $4,500,000 4 Motiva $4,400,000 5 Clark Refining and Marketing $4,000,000 6 Marathon Ashland $3,800,000 7 Conoco $1,500,000 11 Table 28 presents the company, compliance amount, and rank among all 162 cases in terms of the compliance amount. Co mpanies reported on in news articles were all ranked in the top ten (aside from Murphy Oil which ranked 12) in terms of compliance amount. Overall, cases reported on in news ar ticles represented seven of the highest twelve compliance amounts. Table 28: Company, Compliance Amount, and Rank of Compliance Amount (N=162) Company Compliance Amount Rank of Compliance Amount BP $550,000,000 1 Motiva $400,000,000 2 Marathon Ashland $265,000,000 3 Koch $102,000,000 4 Conoco $80,000,000 5 Clark Refining and Marketing $22,000,000 6 Murphy Oil $4,500,000 12 Table 29 presents the company, SEP amount, and rank among all 162 cases in terms of the SEP amount. Five of the seven companies reported on in news articles were ranked in the top ten in terms of SEP amount. Overall, cases reported on in news articles represented five of the highe st six compliance amounts.
106Table 29: Company, SEP Amount, and Rank of SEP Amount (N=162) Company SEP Amount Rank of SEP Amount Murphy Oil $7,500,000 1 Marathon Ashland $6,500,000 2 Motiva $5,500,000 3 Conoco $1,800,000 4 Clark Refining and Marketing $1,200,000 6 BP $0 --Koch $0 --Table 30 presents the company, the tota l amount in terms of penalty assessed, compliance amount and SEP amount, and the rank of amount among all 162 cases in the ECHO data included in the present study. The companies reported on in news articles were the highest seven cases in terms of tota l penalty assessed, compliance amount, and SEP amount. News articles only reported on cases in which the total EPA costs exceeded $20,000,000. Consequently, cases involving lower penalties, compliance costs, and SEP amounts did not receive any news coverage. It appears that the summ ation of the penalty amount assessed, compliance amount, and SEP am ount is the greatest factor leading to news article coverage of petroleu m refinery industry violations. Table 30: Company, Total Penalty Sought, Compliance Amount, SEP Amount, and Rank of Amount Company Total Amount Rank of Amount BP $559,500,000 1 Motiva $409,900,000 2 Marathon Ashland $275,300,000 3 Koch $106,500,000 4 Conoco $83,300,000 5 Clark Refining and Marketing $27,200,000 6 Murphy Oil $21,500,000 7 Refining Capacity The greater the refining capacity of th e company, the greate r the likelihood of news coverage of petroleum i ndustry violations. In ten (59% ) of the seventeen articles, the total refining capacities of the violating company were reported. Taken together, just four companies represent 30 percent of the total refining capacity in the United States
107 (See Table 31). Refining capacities for the othe r companies included in the news articles were not reported. It appears that news covera ge of petroleum industr y violations is more likely to occur if the violating company is re sponsible for a high per centage of the total United States refining output. Table 31: Company, News Source, Refining Capacity, and Number of Violating Refineries Company News Source Refining Capacity (total in U.S.) Number of Violating Refineries BP and Koch Star Tribune Times Picayune Washington Post Houston Chronicle 15% 12 Motiva Times Picayune Seattle Times Houston Chronicle 10% 9 Marathon Ashland Houston Chronicle Star Tribune St. Louis Dispatch 5% 7 Summary of Results for Research Question #3 News coverage of federal petroleum refi ning violations is limited. Only seventeen articles from 1997-2003 reported on cases incl uded in the EPAÂ’s ECHO database. While coverage is lacking, the results presented in the previous sections suggest that certain factors lead to the like lihood of news coverage. Most articl es appeared on the day or days immediately following the filing of the cas e by the EPA, suggesting the EPA press releases are a prevalent source of environm ental violation news for reporters. News coverage was also directly linked to viola tions committed by local refineries, indicating that environmental crime in the form of fede ral petroleum refining violations are of local concern rather than national concern. The greatest factor leading to news coverage appears to be penalty and compliance am ounts. The seven companies receiving the highest penalty amounts by the EPA were also the only seven companies reported on in news articles. In addition, the higher the refi ning capacity of the company, the greater the
108 likelihood of reporting. A more detailed discus sion of these factors is presented in Chapter Seven. Research Question #4 Are petroleum refining industry penalty assessm ent decisions affected by the racial and socioeconomic composition of the communitie s surrounding the violating facility? Do other factors influence pena lty assessment decisions? Originally, it was the intention of this research to determine the impact of community race and ethnic characteristics on pena lties assessed against oil refineries that violated the environmental laws. Preliminary analysis revealed that the assessed fine was largely predicted by the preliminary fine re quested by the EPA (the Pearson correlation coefficient between penalty assessment and penalty sought by EPA was .931). Community race characteristics were not signifi cant predictors of either the preliminary or assessed penalty. Research on racial bias in criminal jus tice processes helps to explain this outcome. Racial biases are more likely to be seen in early processing stages. Late stage decision making, particular ly sentencing decisions, tends to involve a biased sample produced by earlier stage decisions (see Lynch and Patterson, 1991, 1996). With respect to EPA decisions, for example, it is plausibl e that a larger number of cases affecting minority communities are excluded before the penalty assessment stage, while less serious cases affecting white communities are retained. These proce ssing selection biases make race appear to be an unimportant determinant of assessed penalties. To address whether or not this is indeed a valid explan ation, stage related case processing data would be needed. Data of this nature is not pub lic record, and would re quire special access to EPA files to collect.
109 Given the limitations described above, the an alysis was redirected to determine if community race, ethnic and class characterist ics impacted the departure from the EPA penalty recommendation. In other words, are community characterist ics related to the penalty difference controlling for other legally relevant decision ma king criteria that might impact penalty assessment. Several regression models were estimated in order to answer this revised question. The dependent variable for each of the regression models presented below was the logged penalty difference. As stipulated in Chapte r Five, the distribution of this variable was nonlinear and non-normal. A log transforma tion approximated a more normal, linear variable. Table 32 presents the results of the first regression model predicting the percent of departure in penalty amount The regression equation incl uded the following independent variables: number of violat ions (vionum), voluntary disclo sure (voldis), and percent minority (African-American and Hispanic) with in a three mile radius of the violating facility (minper3). Table 32: Regression Model 1 Predicting Penalty Difference Variable B SE b Beta VIF T Sig. T* minper3 -6.432 .004 -.190 1.002 -1.687 .097 vionum .448 .105 .478 1.004 4.248 .000* voldis 19.200 .803 -.013 1.005 -.115 .909 *p<.05 R2 = .269 Adj. R2 = .231 S.E. = .79505 Durbin-Watson = 1.637 The R2 for the first regression model presented in Table 32 was .269. The adjusted R2 was .231, indicating that the i ndependent variables predic ted approximately twentythree percent of the variation in penalty depa rtures. The results from model 1 indicate that
110 whether or not a company voluntarily discloses a violation has no significant effect on the penalty difference. Likewise, the percent mi nority within a three-mile radius had no significant effect on the penalty difference. The number of violations committed, however, was a statistically significant predicto r of penalty departure (p = .000). Table 33 presents the results of the second regression model predicting the percent of departure in penalty amount where the percent Afri can-American population within a three-mile radius was entered in place of percent mino rity population (which include Hispanics within a three-mile radius) to determine if there are specific race effects. The regression equati on included the following indepe ndent variables: number of violations (vionum), voluntary disclosure (voldis), and percent African-American within a three mile radius of the vi olating facility (aaper3). Table 33: Regression Model 2 Predicting Penalty Difference Variable B SE b Beta VIF t Sig. T* aaper3 -1.295 .005 -.312 1.027 -2.865 .006* vionum .407 .102 .434 1.028 3.976 .000* voldis -.149 .771 -.021 1.006 -.193 .847 *p<.05 R2 = .328 Adj. R2 = .293 S.E. = .76218 Durbin-Watson = 1.772 The adjusted R2 for model 2 was .293, indicating th at the independent variables predicted approximately twenty-nine percent of the variation in pe nalty departures. The results from model 2 indicate th at voluntary disclosure was not statistically significant, but that number of violations was significan t (p = .000). In the first model, percent minority was not statistically significant. Ho wever, when percent African-American was included in the model and separated from per cent Hispanic, the variable was statistically significant (p = .006).
111 Table 34 presents the results of the thir d regression model predicting the percent of departure in penalty amount. Model three included percent Hispan ic within a threemile radius and excluded pe rcent African-America within a three-mile radius to determine if there are different ethnicity e ffects. The regression equation included the following independent variables: number of violations (vionum), voluntary disclosure (voldis), and percent Hispanic within a thre e mile radius of the violating facility (hisper3). Table 34: Regression Model 3 Predicting Penalty Difference Variable B SE b Beta VIF t Sig. T* hisper3 2.835 .005 .067 1.021 .577 .566 vionum .444 .109 .474 1.021 4.089 .000* voldis -1.257 .821 -.002 1.006 -.015 .988 *p<.05 R2 = .238 Adj. R2 = .198 S.E. = .81200 Durbin-Watson = 1.772 The adjusted R2 for model 3 was .198, indicating th at the independent variables predicted approximately twenty percent of the variation in penalty departures. The results from model 3 indicate that again, voluntary disclosure was not statistically significant, while the number of violations was statis tically significant (p = .000). Unlike percent African-American, percent Hispanic within a th ree-mile radius had no significant effect on the penalty difference (p = .556). Table 35 presents the results of the four th regression model predicting the percent of departure in penalty amount. The fourth regression model included percent below poverty in a three-mile radius to determin e if there are socioeconomic effects. The regression equation included the following independent variab les: number of violations (vionum), voluntary disclosure (voldis), per cent African-American w ithin a three mile
112 radius of the violating facility (aaper3) a nd percent below poverty within a three-mile radius (bppov3). Table 35: Regression Model 4 Predicting Penalty Difference Variable B SE b Beta VIF t Sig. T* aaper3 -1.304 .005 -.315 1.478 -2.385 .020* bpper3 4.686 .015 .004 1.455 .032 .974 voldis -.151 .780 -.021 1.014 -.194 .847 vionum .406 .106 .433 1.075 3.847 .000* *p<.05 R2 = .328 Adj. R2 = .281 S.E. = .76883 Durbin-Watson = 1.775 The R2 for regression model 4 presented in Table 35 was .328. The adjusted R2 was .281, indicating that the independent variab les predicted approximately twenty-eight percent of the variation in pe nalty departures. The results fr om model 4 again show that voluntary disclosure is not statistically signifi cant, number of viola tions is statistically significant (p = .000), percent African-American is statistically significant (p = .020), and that the percent below poverty in a threemile radius had no si gnificant effect on the penalty difference (p = .974). Table 36 presents the results of the fift h regression model predicting the percent of departure in penalty amount. The fift h regression model included two additional variables: Supplemental Environmental Project amount and Clean Air Act (CAA) violator. The regression equa tion included the following i ndependent variables: number of violations (vionum), voluntary disclosure (voldis), percent Afri can-American within a three mile radius of the violating facil ity (aaper3), SEP amount (sepamt), and CAA violator (CAA1).
113Table 36: Regression Model 5 Predicting Penalty Difference Variable B SE b Beta VIF t Sig. T* sepamt 1.901 .000 .274 1.094 2.529 .014* voldis 6.915 .733 .010 1.029 .094 .925 vionum .416 .123 .359 1.050 3.387 .001* aaper3 -9.214 .005 -.227 1.147 -2.044 .046* caa1 .262 .201 .148 1.195 1. 307 .197 *p<.05 R2 = .410 Adj. R2 = .357 S.E. = .71662 Durbin-Watson = 1.764 The R2 for the fifth regression model pr esented in Table 36 was .410. The adjusted R2 was .357, indicating that the independen t variables predicted approximately thirty-six percent of the variation in penalty departures. The results from model 5 indicate that the best predictors of penalty differen ce are the number of violations committed (p = .001), the Supplemental Environmental Proj ect amount (p = .014) and the percent African-American in a threemile radius (p = .046). Summary of Results for Research Question 4 The regression models indicated that percent African-American population was a significant predictor of penalty departure amounts controlling for the effects of the number of violations, supplemental project am ount, and whether or not violations were voluntarily disclosed. The va rious regression models estim ated above indicated that ethnicity population effects had a marginal to weak (statistically in significant) effect, and that class-effects were not evident. Overall, however, the models pr edicted only a modest amount of variation in penalty difference amount s, and it is plausible that omitted factors may explain this variation. Although the relationship between Af rican-American population and penalty departure is significant, it is difficult to interpret the re gression coefficients because
114 penalty differences were logged. Roughly, a one-percent increas e in the AfricanAmerican population decreased penalty depa rture amounts by more than 9 percent. To clarify the relationship betw een race and penalty amounts fu rther, the distribution of penalties for communities at opposite ends of the racial composition spectrum were also examined (see Table 37). For example, for the 8 communities that were 60 percent or more African American, 5 involved no supplem ental amount. In addition, while 6 of these eight communities experienced a penalty departure, the departures were less than $255,000 in all cases. The average penalty sought by the EPA in high concentration African-American communities was $171,108, while the average penalty difference was $13,608. Table 37: EPA Requested Penalty, Penalty Differences and Supplemental Penalty Amounts Across High Concentration African American, White, Hispanic, and Minority Communities. Requested Penalty Penalty Difference Supplemental Penalty N ALL 588,464 165,838 237,651 107 >60% AA 171,108 13,608 3,571 8 >60% WH 704,662 274,280 436,975 54 >60% HS 208,160 224,580 5,340 5 >70% MN 185,017 121,855 12,277 15 AA = African American WH = White HS = Hispanic MN = Minority (African American and Hispanic) Comparing these results to those for co mmunities that were primarily white (more than 60 percent white), fourteen of the 54 white communities (26%) received supplemental amount settlements. The mean supplemental amount was in excess of $436,000, or one-hundred and twenty-two times higher than the mean supplemental amount in high concentration African-Ameri can communities. In addition, 26 of the 54 white communities received penalty departures. In one case, the depa rture led to a lower fine than sought by the EPA ($ 23,850 less than the recommendation of $66,000). In four
115 cases, the departures were in excess of $ 1,000,000. The mean departure for primarily white communities was nearly $275,000, or nearly twenty times higher than in primarily African-American communities. These results support those from the re gression models, tho ugh they do not take case seriousness into account. Both the suppl emental and regression analyses results should be considered with caution given th e small number of cases representing high African-American concentration communities. Summary of Results The results of the four research questi ons analyzed in the present study indicate that petroleum industry viola tions are widespread; media re porting of petroleum refining industry violations is limited; the seriousness of the offense based on penalty assessments is the greatest factor leadi ng to coverage; and that penalty departures were lower in predominantly African-American communities. A discussion of these results is presented in Chapter Seven.
116 Chapter Seven Discussion The following chapter provides a discussion of the results reported in Chapter Six. Overall, the present study found that envi ronmental crime in the form of federal petroleum refining violations is widespr ead; media coverage of petroleum refining violations is lacking; certai n factors contribute to the li kelihood of news coverage; and that penalty departures are affected by community racial characteristics. Research Question #1 The purpose of Research Question #1 was to determine the nature and distribution of environmental crime as indicated by fede ral petroleum violations. Several variables were examined and the results for each va riable were reported on in Chapter Six. The results for a number of the descriptive st atistics deserves further discussion. The key findings were as follows: Eighty-three percent of the total number of petr oleum refining companies in the United States were responsible for one or more EPA violations from 2001-2002. Thirty percent of our nationÂ’s petroleum refi ning companies were involved in two or more EPA cases from 2001-2002. Thirty percent of the cases involved more than one federal environmental statute violation. Petroleum refining violations occurred in eighty-eight percent of states hosting petroleum refining operations. One out of every five EPA cases involved a serious viol ation of environmental statutes.
117 Only a small proportion of cases (13%) were the result of facility self-disclosures. From 2003-2004, the EPA did not inspect 54.3% of facilities for violations of the CAA; the EPA did not inspect 49.6% of facilities for violations of the CWA; and the EPA did not inspect 48.4% of facilities for violations of RCRA. From 2003-2004, states did not inspect 31.3% of facilities for violations of the CAA; states did not inspect 53.1% of facilities for violations of the CWA; and states did not inspect 49.2% of facilitie s for violations of RCRA. Approximately half (48.4%) of all facilities were in non-compliance of the CAA for 7 or 8 quarters (of 8) from 2003-2004. Company Information The Environmental Protection Agency f iled and/or settled 162 cases against petroleum refining companies from 2001-2002. Seventy-eight separate companies were involved in the 162 cases. According to the Department of Ener gy (2003), ninety-four companies own and operate the one hundred a nd forty-nine petroleum refineries located in the United States. Based on the data, eighty-three percent of the total number of petroleum refining companies in the United St ates were responsible for one or more EPA violations from 2001-2002 Sixteen of these companies we re involved in three or more EPA cases, which represents 17% of the tota l number of petroleum refining companies operating in the United States. Twelve of these companies were involved in two EPA cases, which represents 13% of the tota l number of petroleum refining companies operating in the United States. Thirty percent of our nationÂ’s petroleum refining companies were involved in tw o or more EPA cases from 2001-2002 Furthermore, thirty percent of cases involved violations of mo re than one federal environmental statute. These numbers suggest that federal environmental violations committed by petroleum refining companies are widespread and frequent. For example, Koch Industries
118 was involved in ten cases, Chevron was i nvolved in nine cases, and Shell Oil was involved in eight cases. Furthe rmore, the data analyzed in the present study is reflective of violations known to the EPA. If these 162 cases we re reflective of all petroleum refining industry violations, it would be fair to say that the petroleu m refining industry is responsible for a great deal of environmental crime. Howe ver, these cases more than likely only represent a small proportion of th e total amount of environmental crimes committed by the petroleum refining industry. Criminologically, this rate of offending would qualify these companies as persistent criminal offenders, and perhaps as career criminals. Future research should compare th e nature and distribu tion of environmental crime indicated by data analyzed in the presen t study with data for other years in order to provide a more accurate picture of the trends in petroleum refining industry violations. Refinery Location Violating refineries were located in thir ty states across the country. According to the Department of Energy (2003), thirty-four of our nationÂ’s states are home to one or more petroleum refineries. Based on the data, petroleum refining violations occurred in 88% of the states hosting petroleum refining operations Refineries located in Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Illi nois comprise 24.5% of the total number of refineries operating in the United States; yet re fineries located in just these five states were responsible for over half (51.8%) of all federal petroleum refining industry violations. Texas refineries comprise 16.8% of the to tal number of refineries in the United States but were involved in 25.9% of federal petroleum refining cases. Oklahoma refineries comprise 2.5% of the to tal number of refineries in the United States but were involved in 8.6% of federal petroleum refining cases.
119 Pennsylvania refineries comprise 2.5% of the total number of refineries in the United States but were involved in 6.8% of the federal petroleum refining cases. Delaware refineries comprise less than one percent of the total number of refineries in the United States but were involved in 4.9% of federal petroleum refining cases. Illinois refineries comprise 2.1% of refineries in the United States but were involved in 5.6% of federal petroleum refining cases. While the present study did not focus on EPA enforcement decisions, it is worth noting that certain states appear to be responsible for more th an their fair share of federal petroleum refining violations. It may be that refineries located in these states are in fact violating federal environmental statutes with more frequency than refineries located in other states. However, enforcement decisions may play a role in the unequal distribution of federal enforcement actions by state. Futu re research should examine the distribution of federal petroleum refining violations by EP A region, state, and re lated variables. In addition, an examination of state environmen tal enforcement initiatives and trends may shed some light on why particular states are disproportionately targeted by the EPA. If certain states consider environmental statut e enforcement to be a high priority, the EPA may be less likely to get involved. Convers ely, if state enviro nmental enforcement actions are lacking, the EPA may pay more atten tion to refineries loca ted in these states. Case Type According to the EPA, administrative act ion should be taken unless 1) the total penalty amount is in excess of $200,000; or 2) the offense was committed more than a year prior to the case issuance or 3) the nature of the violation require s injunctive relief or
120 involves evidence of a criminal violation. Crim inal and civil judicial cases then involve more serious violations. Most of the cases in this sample (78.4%) were resolved by the EPA through administrative actions (the sample does not in clude criminal violations, which fall under the authority of the Department of Justice). However, in 21.6% of the cases (N=35), civil judicial action was required. The data indicate that one out of every five EPA cases involved a serious violation of environmental statutes. In order to get a better understanding of how serious judi cial cases are in comparison with administrative cases, future research should examine violation details outlined in the ECHO database. Furthermore, future research should also in clude attempts to examine criminal charges brought against oil refineries. Existing data sources, however, do not allow researchers to access corporate identities from criminal cas e data, and special access to EPA data would be required to undertake such an investigation. Voluntary Disclosure In December of 1995, the EPA introduced a program entitled Â“Incentives for SelfPolicing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction, and Prevention of ViolationsÂ”. The policy was designed to provide major incentives fo r companies that voluntarily discover, promptly disclose, and expeditiously correct noncompliance with environmental statutes. This program was designed to give companies the opportunity for a re duction in fines if they voluntarily disclosed exis ting violations. According to the EPA, violations can be considered voluntarily disclosed even if th ey are discovered during the course of an environmental audit. In the present study, only a small proportion of cases (21 or 13%) were the result of facility self-disclosures. The EPA insists that since the program was
121 initiated Â“an increasing number of companies have voluntarily come forward to disclose environmental violationsÂ”. However, the EPA does not provide the actual statistics for the impact of the policy on self-disclosures. Fu ture research should ex amine the trends in self-disclosures and calculate the amount of penalties that would have been assessed had the self-disclosure incentives not existed. The voluntary disclosure policy led to fi ne reductions in all cases where the violation was voluntarily disclo sed. Consequently, the seriousn ess of the violations based strictly on penalty amounts may be affected by this policy provision. EPA and State Inspections From 2003-2004, the EPA did not inspect 54.3% of facilities for violations of the CAA; the EPA did not inspect 49.6% of facili ties for violations of the CWA; and the EPA did not inspect 48.4% of facilities for violations of RCRA. From 2003-2004, states did not inspect 31.3% of facilitie s for violations of the CAA; states did not inspect 53.1% of facilities for violations of the CWA; and states did not inspect 49.2% of facilities for violations of RCRA. Approximate ly half of all facilities included in the present study were not inspected by the EPA in the most recent two-year time period. Approximately half of all facilities were not inspected by the state for vi olations of the CWA and RCRA and one-third of all facilities were not insp ected for violations of the CAA. These findings suggest that violations might be c onsiderably higher were the EPA and/or the state to inspect all facilities for petroleum refining violations. The reasons for lack of inspections are probably dive rse and future research shoul d seek to determine how the EPA and the states structures their inspection endeavors. If the EPA or the state has a systematic inspection format, it seems reasona ble to suggest that facilities may aim for
122 compliance when they are aware of an upc oming inspection. If, however, the EPA and the state ensures that inspections are random, th e possibility of discovering violations will likely increase. Non-Compliance of CAA, CWA, and RCRA The EPA collects data on the number of quarters of non-compliance of the various environmental statutes. The data s how that approximatel y half (48.4%) of all facilities were in non-complia nce of the CAA for 7 or 8 quarters from 2003-2004. Fifteen facilities (11.7%) were in non-compliance of the CWA for 7 or 8 quarters from 20032004. Approximately one-third (27.3%) of fac ilities were in non-compliance of RCRA from 2003-2004. Overall, it appears that a signifi cant proportion of fac ilities are often in non-compliance with federal environmental stat utes, and are persistent, repeat offenders. The EPA does not undertake action against ev ery facility that is frequently in noncompliance. If the EPA were to file cases ag ainst every facility fo r every violation, the EPA would need to increase its budge t and enforcement staff tenfold. Discussion Summary Research Question #1 Although the data show that environm ental crimes committed by the petroleum refining industry are widespread and persiste nt, it appears that enforcement actions are not consistent with the amount of crime co mmitted by the petroleum industry. More than likely the industry is aware that inspections ar e infrequent and that even in the case of consistent non-compliance, the EPA may not undertake enforcement actions. It appears that the petroleum refining indus try would rather violate envi ronmental statutes and risk being caught, rather than comp ly. If the risk of being caught is low and punishment is rare or involves minimal economic impact, then the financial incentive s to violate the law
123 are high. The results indicated that envir onmental crimes committed by the petroleum refining industry are widespread, even when one only takes into consideration crimes known to the EPA Research Question #2 The purpose of Research Question #2 was to determine the nature and distribution of mainstream news media re porting of federal petroleum industry violations. Seventyfour articles were collected which made reference to federal petroleum industry violations. However, of these seventy-four articles only seventeen articles (23%) corresponded directly with cases included in the EPA ECHO database. The mainstream mass media does not focus much attention on federal petroleum refining violations The results from the present study add to the growing body of evidence which shows that media reporting of corporate crime and/or environmental crime is minimal (Maguire, 2002; Lynch, Stretesky, and Hammond; Lofquist, 1997; Wright, Cullen, and Blankenship, 1995; Lynch, Nalla, and Miller 1989; Morash and Hale, 1987; Evans and Lundman, 1983; Swigert and Farrell, 1980). Future research that broadens the scope of the search parameters to include a wider ra nge of years and cases may reveal a greater number of articles for analysis. Despite th e low number of articles reporting on the petroleum refining industry, the data do have some noticeable characteristics which are discussed below. News Source Over 20.3% of the articles were reported in the Houston Chronicle which is not surprising considering that Texas hosts more petroleum refineries (25) than any other state. The Times Picayune (New Orleans) was responsible for 16.2% of articles, which
124 again, is not surprising as Louisiana hosts th e third largest number (17) of the nationÂ’s petroleum refineries. What is most surprisi ng is the number of articles produced by the Star Tribune in Minneapolis (7) was rath er large, despite the fact that only two refineries are located in the entire state. The New York Times also contained seven articles pertaining to the petroleum refi ning industry despite the fact no petroleum refineries were operating in the state. Overall, the data suggested that re porting decisions may be based on the importance of petroleum refining in the lo cal community and on individual decisionmaking by reporters. For example, some reporte rs may feel that the petroleum refining industry is newsworthy while other reporters may disagree. Ultimately, editors must decide if the article is newsworthy. Future research should pay part icular attention to news reporting decision-making processes in or der to provide a bett er understanding of the process. Article Location News articles on the petroleum refini ng industry appeared in one of four locations: 1) News (Section A and National News ), 2) Local News (Section B, Metro, or Suburban), 3) Business or M oney, or 4) Other (including Science or Editorials). The location of the article is significant in that ce rtain sections of newspapers are more widely read than other sections. According to a r ecent study by Mediamark Research Inc. (2004) on newspaper section readership, seventy percent of adults read the general news sections of the paper while only forty pe rcent read the business or fina nce sections of the paper. Sixty-eight percent of pe troleum refining industry articles appeared in the general or local news sections of the paper while twenty-eight percent of arti cles appeared in the business
125 or money sections of the paper. Of the sevent y-four articles, only eight articles appeared on the front page of the national news secti on. While sports and entertainment are given their own sections in the paper, the environmen t is reported on in va rious sub-sections of the paper. Case Specific News Articles Chapter Six reported on the content of news paper articles direc tly related to cases included in the present study. The purpose of th e following discussion is to present some of the themes apparent throughout the news ar ticles that reported sp ecifically on the cases included in the present study. Specific quotes ta ken from the various articles represent overall reporting trends observe d in the seventeen case specific news articles. Discussions of the reporting trends are presented after each sample of article quotes. Violations Committed Â“The sector (petroleum refining) is re garded as one of the worst in terms of environmental compliance Â” ( Times Picayune New Orleans, 7/26/00) Â“An Environmental Protection Agency investigation of U.S. refineries showed widespread violati ons of the Clean Air Act with emissions problems from stacks, leaking valves, and other areasÂ” ( Times Picayune New Orleans, 7/26/00) Â“The comprehensive agreement frees th e company from the threat of legal action by the government for past violation of clean air laws Â” ( Times Picayune New Orleans, 7/26/00) Only one article ( Times Picayune 2000) indicated that the petroleum refining industry is Â“one of the worstÂ” violators of e nvironmental statutes a nd that violations are Â“widespreadÂ”, consequently the public is more than likely unaware of the extent to which the petroleum refining industry violates enviro nmental laws. If more articles presented the petroleum refining industry as one of the worst violators in terms of environmental
126 compliance and explained what that means in terms of environmental and human health consequences, perhaps the public would be more likely to support stricter environmental legislation and emissions standards. Furtherm ore, social activism may increase with the knowledge and understanding of the extent to which the refining industry violates environmental policies. The last quote states that the agreement in question will free the company Â“from the threat of legal action by the government for past violation of clean air lawsÂ”. Similar statements appeared in other articles. Â“Fines cover pollution problems invol ving air, water, and solid and hazardous waste during the past 26 monthsÂ” ( Star Tribune Minneapolis, 7/26/00) Â“The complaint against Clark lists viol ations of federal statutes, including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act Â”. ( St. Louis Dispatch 9/10/98) Â“The violations have included i llegal dumping, illegal emissions, falsifying environmental reports, wetl ands destruction, sewage overflow, chemical discharges, and oil spills Â” ( Washington Post 9/10/98) Â“The wide-ranging Norco probe cen tered on the companyÂ’s (Motiva) failure to monitor, check, and fix th ousands of toxic leaks and on whether the company misrepresented its operations to the agency (EPA).Â” ( Times Picayune New Orleans, 3/22/01) Specific violations committed by the petroleum refining industry were, for the most part, reported in gene ral terms. For example, The Star Tribune (2000) described the violations as Â“pollution probl ems involving air, water, and solid and hazardous wasteÂ”. The St. Louis Dispatch (1998) (as well as other articles) li sted the environm ental acts that were violated. The Washington Post (1998) and the Times Picayune (2001) can be credited to some degree for pr oviding a more detailed and speci fic list of the violations committed by the petroleum refining industry. Re porting violations in vague terms with sweeping generalizations does not present a clear picture of what is actually occurring.
127 For example, stating that a company violat ed the Clean Air Act, without a precise description of how and what impact the vi olation has on the local community, has an effect on how the public perceives the viola tions. If reporters provided more detailed descriptions of the violati ons and environmental and huma n health consequences, then perhaps the public would be mo re willing to view environmental offenses as criminal offenses. Environmental and Human Health Impacts Â“Toxins include benzene, a known carcinogen and smog-causing compounds such as nitrogen oxides, sulf ur dioxides, and volatile organic compoundsÂ” ( Star Tribune Minneapolis, 7/26/00) Â“The pollutants in question are smog-forming nitrogen oxide; chemical gases that form smog, including cancer-causing benzene; sulfur dioxide, and tiny soot particles.Â” ( Houston Chronicle 3/22/01) Â“Air pollution triggers such illne sses as childhood asthma and cancer Â” ( Star Tribune Minneapolis, 7/26/00) Â“The new equipment is intended to help ease respiratory problems such as childhood asthma by cutting pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, particulate emissions, carb on monoxide, benzene, and volatile organic compoundsÂ” ( Houston Chronicle 5/12/01) News articles in the Houston Chronicle (2001) and Star Tribune (2000) did a fairly good job of listing some of the major pollu tants released into the air as a result of violations. However, although many peopl e know that sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide are harmful substances, the dangers a ssociated with other s ubstances are not as apparent. The articles state that these polluta nts are associated with respiratory problems and are known cancer-causing agents. The environmental and human health consequences of exposure to there pollutant s are much more serious and vast than indicated in these articles. For example, the Star Tribune (2000) states th at Â“air pollution
128 triggers such illnesses as childhood asthma and cancerÂ”. This statement underplays the seriousness of air pollution with the use of the word Â“triggersÂ”. Furthermore, cancer is a much more serious illne ss than childhood asthma. The spectrum of human health consequences are not explored in these arti cles which means that the public will remain ignorant to the problems caused by pollutants especi ally in light of the fact most articles did not mention environmental or human health problems at all. Â“In a statement, Norco refinery Manager Allen Kirkley said he was confident the deal would help the environment and prove beneficial to the residents of the community of Norco.Â” ( Times Picayune New Orleans, 3/22/01) Â“The projects include $280,000 to fina nce a cancer study of the effects of industrial chemical exposure in the lower Mississippi RiverÂ” ( Times Picayune New Orleans, 3/22/01) The two quotes presented above, if take n at face value, may not be cause for concern. However, if one reads between the lin es, several questions arise. In the first statement, a Norco refinery manager stresses that the enforcement Â“dealÂ” will Â“help the environment and prove beneficial to residents of the community of NorcoÂ”. If Norco was truly concerned about the environment and the local community, w hy did they violate environmental laws in the first place and only make a Â“dealÂ” with enforcement officials when they were caught? Why does the articl e present a Norco representative commenting on how the company (the offender) is benefiting the environment and the community (the victims)? Where are the voices of the victims? The second quote refers to the funding of a cancer study to analyze the effects of industrial chemical exposure. Why do we wait for problems to arise before we study them? We have known for a long time that chemical
129 exposure is linked with cancer and other illnes ses. Studies of this type take years to complete. In the meantime, people will continue to get sick due to chemical exposure. Â“Residents of nearby Park Hill critic ized the length of time the company (Conoco) was allowed to delay adding (a ir pollution) cont rols. Â‘I think we have to look at what these emissions will cost in terms of peopleÂ’s healthÂ’, said Roz Wheeler-Bell, 50, chairwoman of Greater Park Hill Community, Inc. Â‘I donÂ’t think improvements six or seven years down the road is any great victory.Â’ Wheeler-Bell said th e neighborhood is often washed by a Â‘chemical, burnyÂ’ odor that sets off her sonÂ’s asthma and brings complaints of headaches from other re sidents. Â‘It just smells toxicÂ’, she said, Â‘And the consensus is itÂ’s gotten worse in the last few yearsÂ’.Â” (Denver Post, 12/21/01) Only two articles of the seventeen case sp ecific articles actua lly quoted a resident (victim) from the local commun ity and in both articles ( Denver Post 2001; Rocky Mountain News 2001), the same resident was quoted. Wh ile the first part of the articles contained quotes from EPA officials and the violating company, which included words and phrases such as Â“agreementÂ”, Â“settlemen tÂ”, and Â“victory for everyone involvedÂ”, the comments made by resident, Roz Wheeler-B ell painted a different picture. She emphasized that the so-called Â“victoryÂ” was not a victory for local residents. While an enforcement decision did penalize Conoco, the company was given several years to fix the problem. And in the meantime, reside nts continue to suffer numerous health consequences of exposure to toxic air. No ot her case specific arti cle addressed resident concerns. It would appear that the victims have been forgotten when newspapers report on petroleum refinery violations.
130 Actions Speak Louder Than Words Â“Protecting our natural resources through strong enforcement of environmental law is a top priority for the Department of Justice Â” Attorney General John Ashcroft. ( Times Picayune New Orleans, 3/22/01) Â“Edward L. Dowd Jr., the U.S. attorney for the Missouri District that includes St. Louis, is one of the nati onÂ’s most aggressive prosecutors of waterway crimes, with 10 convictions in the last year. Â‘WeÂ’re sending a message that you canÂ’t pay a fine and walk away ,Â’ Dowd said in an interview. Â‘This is serious stuff. WeÂ’re going to make you repair the damage youÂ’ve done. And if you did it on purpose, weÂ’re going to send you to jail. Â” Two sentences later . .Â”Environmental crimes are still a tiny faction of the (Justice) departmentÂ’s work, much less than 1 percent of its overall prosecutions Â” ( Washington Post 9/10/98) Â“Officials who gathered at the riverÂ’s banks yesterday said they were determined to protect the Mississippi from daily dumpings of raw sewage, cyanide, slaughterhouse waste, h eavy metals, and other toxic junk Â” ( Washington Post 9/10/98) Attorney General Janet Reno (picture included with her quote) Â“vowed to hunt down all polluters Â‘in all corners of the watershedÂ’ and that they would not be let off with mere fines and apologies However, Lois J. Schiffer, assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources, said the office has investigated crim inal proceedings against Shell and decided that a Â‘strong civ il settlement was our only logical course in this case Â’Â”. ( St. Louis Dispatch 9/10/98) Many of the case specific articles pr esented quotes from high-ranking state and federal officials. It comes as no surprise that these officials were adamant about going after violators. But actions speak louder than words. According to Attorney General John Ashcroft (Times Picayune, 2001), Â“strong enforcement of environmental law is a top priority of the Justice Depa rtmentÂ”. Similarly, Edward L. Dowd Jr. stated in the Washington Post (1998), Â“This is serious stuff. WeÂ’re go ing to make you repair the damage youÂ’ve done. And if you did it on purpose, weÂ’re going to send you to jail.Â” However, in the same article, just two sent ences later, the following statement appears,
131 Â“environmental crimes are still a tiny facti on of the (Justice) departmentÂ’s work, much less than 1 percent of its ove rall prosecutionsÂ”. Attorney General Janet Reno was quoted in the St. Louis Dispatch (1998) stressing that polluters Â“would not be let off with mere fines and apologiesÂ”. But, just one sentence later, the truth is revealed, Â“Lois J. Schiffer, assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources, said the office has investigated criminal proceedings against She ll and decided that a Â‘s trong civil settlement was our only logical course in this caseÂ’Â”. It appears that officials are overzealous with their words. Environmental crime enforcemen t is NOT a major priority for the Justice Department. Quotes from officials make it sound like our federal and state agencies are deeply concerned about the problems caused by the petrol eum refining industry. These quotes may even lead the public to believe state and federal agencies are committed to serious enforcement of our environmenta l laws. If so, the public is misguided. Enforcement of environmental laws is not given the serious atte ntion indicated by our nationÂ’s leaders. Â“The Motiva-Norco case demonstrated the stateÂ’s ineffectiveness in policing its major industrial sites. .a DEQ inspector did not find any violations of the leak-detection program shortly before (a former employee) came forward. Â‘These viol ations would not have surfaced had it not been for someone stepping out an d effectively dragging the agencies to the violationsÂ’, Mark Davis, ex ecutive director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana.( Times Picayune New Orleans, 3/22/01) Only one article reported on problems w ith environmental enforcement (Times Picayune, 2001) and even so, the emphasis was on problems with enforcement at the state level. While the present study did not focus directly on federal and state enforcement issues, it is worthy of discussion. The data indicate that violations are widespread, inspections are sporadic, and that enforcemen t is lacking. The quote above indicates that
132 a state inspector found no evidence of viola tions. However, only a short time later, a former employee made the effort to inform ag encies of existing viol ations. This article suggests that even when inspections are be ing conducted, violations are overlooked. Are state inspectors intentionally overlooking vi olations? Future research should examine state and federal enforcement efforts and pro cesses. If state agencies and the EPA are ineffective enforcers of environmental legisl ation, we need to know about it so that changes can be made. Company Portrayal Â“Koch and BP Amoco came forward promptly to work on problems at their refineriesÂ” (EPA Admi nistrator as quoted in the Star Tribune Minneapolis, 7/26/00) Â“After being alerted by government officials the two companies (BP and Koch) initiated talks with the EPA in March to avoid a lawsuit .Â” ( Times Picayune New Orleans, 7/26/00) Â“This agreement represents a strong proactiv e environmental initiative by Koch consistent with our proven commitment to environmental stewardship and other volunt ary clear air initiatives Â” Jim Mahoney, a Koch Petroleum Group executive vice president. ( Times Picayune New Orleans, 7/26/00) The quotes stated above highlight a them e prevalent throughout the case specific articles. The offenders are often praised for their quick response to EPA inquiries and articles portray the companies as willing to work on the problems they caused. The second quote stated above is rather noteworthy. It states that governme nt officials alerted BP and Koch about violations at their faci lities. Due to this knowledge, BP and Koch Â“initiatedÂ” talks with the EPA. It appears th at companies are ready and willing to work out problems they caused, but if and only if, they are caught red-handed. Reporting
133 presents the companies in favorable terms despite the seriousness of the violations committed by these companies. For example, Koch Industries was involved in 10 EPA cases from 2001-2002 (the most of any company) yet the article paints a different picture of Koch. By allowing the offender to comme nt (third quote above) and excluding victim accounts, the public is seriously misinformed as to the true na ture of the violations and consequences. The offender says Â“IÂ’m sorry (that I was caught)Â”, the EPA says, Â“Okay, pay a fine and donÂ’t do it againÂ”, and the vi ctims are ignored. The company then goes on to violate the law, agai n, and again, and again. Â“In a telephone press conference, Brow ner praised BP and Koch for their cooperation in bringing the cases to a speedy conclusionÂ”. At the conclusion of the same article Â“In January, Koch agreed to pay $30 million in fines and spend $5 million on environmental projects for spilling an estimated 3 million gallons of oil from pipelines in Texas and five other states. Browner said at the time that Koch negotiators had been stubbornly unwilling to accept responsibility for the environmental damage caused by the spillsÂ”. ( Houston Chronicle 7/26/00) Â“The companies deny all the allegations Â” Three sentences later Â“EPA Administrator Christie Whitman praised the three companies for Â‘taking the initiative to resolve their envi ronmental problems cooperatively and quicklyÂ’Â”. ( Houston Chronicle 3/22/01) Similar to the quotes discussed in the previous paragraph, these two quotes from the Houston Chronicle (2000, 2001) report on the EPAÂ’s Â“praiseÂ” of BP and KochÂ’s cooperation. However, in both articles, contradi ctory information is reported. In the first article from the Houston Chronicle, the EPA praises the companies for their cooperativeness but at the conclusion of the same article, it states that Â“Koch negotiators had been stubbornly unwilling to accept responsi bilityÂ” for the damage they caused in the past. It appears that past be havior is unlikely to tarnish a companyÂ’s reputation (despite the fact that this same company was invol ved in ten EPA cases in a two year time
134 period). In the second article, it is repor ted that the companies Â“denied all the allegationsÂ”, yet according to the EPA, the companies should be praised for Â“taking the initiative to resolve their environmental problems cooperatively and quicklyÂ”. How are the companies able to resolv e the problems cooperatively an d quickly if the problems donÂ’t exist? Evidence of Criminal or Negligent Activity Â“The company (Koch) agreed to pay a $6.9 million fine in 1998, primarily to the state of Minnesota, and $8 million last fall to resolve a federal criminal complaint Â” ( Star Tribune Minneapolis, 7/26/00) Â“A significant number of the issues surfaced when a former Norco employee disclosed environmental problems to regulators .Â” ( Times Picayune New Orleans, 3/22/01) Â“Criminal inspectors have honed in on MotivaÂ’s record-keeping in Norco to determine if the company falsified records .Â” ( Times Picayune New Orleans, 3/22/01) Â“The refinery was listed on the stat e Superfund site in 1987, and has been the subject of several previous legal settlements, including upgrades of its petroleum storage tanks after a major gasoline leak in 1994. The company also treated more than 330 million gallons of contaminated ground water and 14,000 cubic yards of contaminat ed soil during the mid-1990s, the result of a half-century of petroleum spills and leaks from tanks and underground pipelines Â” ( Star Tribune 5/12/01) Â“The Shell case, for example, did no t lead to a criminal prosecution even though the company faced allegations of illegal levels of sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and benzene emissions. ( Washington Post 9/10/98) Evidence of criminal or negligent activity was minimally discussed in the case specific news articles. The quotes presented ab ove are the only examples of criminal or negligent behavior on the part of the company. Most articles do not discuss the cause of the violations, or they create the false percep tion that the company was unaware that they were violating environmental statutes. Â“W e had no ideaÂ”, appears to be the company
135 motto when it comes to environmental vi olations. The companies are not called Â“criminalsÂ”, the environment and affected co mmunities are not depicted as Â“victimsÂ”. The violations and offenses are not labeled as Â“crimesÂ”. Discussion Summary Research Question #2 In an ideal world, the news media would report on every violation committed by the petroleum refining industry or at the very least, on the most serious cases. Consequently, the public would be aware of the widespread nature and distribution of environmental crime. Increased knowledge could lead to increased efforts to do something about the problem. Instead, we liv e in a society in which news reporting of this type of crime appeared in just sevent een articles over a six y ear time period. It is no wonder the public perceives environmental crime as less serious as compared to street crime. On a daily basis, our national and lo cal newspapers report on violent crimes from around the world. Months may go before we see a news article reporting on environmental crimes committed by the petrol eum refining industry. And even then, what is reported may actually do more harm th an good. Results support the findings from previous research which suggests the media construction of corporate and environmental crime fails to adequately re present the actual na ture of such crime (Maguire, 2002; Lynch, Stretesky, and Hammond; Lofquist 1997; Wright, Cullen, and Blankenship, 1995; Lynch, Nalla, and Miller, 1989; Mora sh and Hale, 1987; Evans and Lundman, 1983; Swigert and Farrell, 1980). In the pr esent study, the news reporting was never critical of the industry or of the government Â’s lack of enforcement efforts. The news reporting relied on EPA information and ha d no investigative component. The news reporting allowed the offenders to comment but ignored the victims. Overall, media
136 reporting of federal petroleum refining industr y violations is not only lacking; it is misleading and downplays the seriou s of environmental crime. Key Findings from the Star-Tel egram, 2004 (Fort Worth, Texas) Although the present study did not anal yze news article coverage beyond 2003, one recent article that appeared in the Star-Telegram deserves recognition. The information reported on in the article was ba sed on a research project which analyzed EPA compliance and enforcement data on the pe troleum refining industry; the same data analyzed in the present study. Investigativ e journalists and environmental reporters collected and analyzed the data. In a ddition, project members conducted numerous interviews and visited refineries in Texas, Louisiana, and Delaware. The presentation of such an article in the news media is especially poignant since articles addressing petroleum refining industry violations are virt ually non-existent. Furt hermore, the article appeared in the National news section a nd contained over 4,000 words. The findings from the Star-Telegram are similar to the findings repor ted in the present study but with the addition of more data, incl uding qualitative data, several key statements are worthy of review. Comprehensive clean-air inspections, a crucial step in identifying violations, are down 52 percent for re fineries since 2001, compared with 4 percent for a ll industries. Notices of violations have plummete d 68 percent for refineries, compared with a 24 percent drop for all industrie s. And formal enforcement actions are down 31 percent for refineries but less than 1 percent for all industries nationwide. Refineries' increased self-reporting of pollution data has in many cases replaced on-site inspections by govern ment regulators, and the EPA does little or nothing to ensure that the companies' reports reflect reality.
137 Texas and Louisiana are home to five of the nation's 10 worst offenders when it comes to toxic air pollutants from oil refineries.But the EPA regional office responsible for thos e states, along with Oklahoma, Arkansas and New Mexico, has no air in spectors dedicated to the region's 50 petroleum refineries. The office's 15 air inspectors are responsible for about 3,000 industrial facil ities that the EPA has classified as "major" emission sources. Throughout Region 6, 60 full-scale air inspections were conducted at oil refineries in 2003 -by far the fewest since at least 1984. BP's Texas City refinery, the nation's largest, emits more toxic pollution into the air than any other U.S. refinery. Yet it hasn't had a comprehensive air-quality inspection in nearly three years. In the Corpus Christi area, Valero's refinery hasn't had a full-scale inspection in three years and one mont h, the Koch Petroleum refinery in four years and two months. In other parts of the country, from Chevron's refinery in El Segundo, Calif., to Premcor Refining Group's plant in Delaware City, Del., refineries with long histories of viol ations have also gone years without full inspections. In Texas, which has more refineries than any other stat e, the Commission on Environmental Quality is responsible for inspections. But like the EPA, it has no air inspectors dedicated to re fineries. Instead, the air inspectors, now down to 129 after steady declines since 1998, handle compliance for as many as 2,000 major industrial sour ces from Brownsville to Amarillo. Since late 2000, the EPA has signe d consent decrees with 11 oil companies, covering 42 of the 145 operating U.S. refineries. The settlements set deadlines for the companies to pay nearly $40 million in penalties and install an estimated $1.9 billion in pollution controls, among other requirements. In return, companies are released from liability for past violations. The Star-Telegram report is noteworthy on two major fronts; 1) the article is extremely critical of the petroleum refining indus try and the EPA; and 2) it serves as an example of exceptional media reporting of envi ronmental crime. The article discusses the impact of political and economic decisionmaking which priorities dollar amounts over human health concerns. Overall, the presence of such an article may either be an anomaly or perhaps a sign of good things (more e nvironmental crime reporting) to come.
138 Research Question #3 The purpose of research que stion #3 was to determine which factors appeared to lead to greater news coverage of federal pe troleum industry violati ons. As indicated in the results from Chapter Six and in the pr eceding discussion, very few EPA cases (17) receive any attention from the mainstream news media. Although newspaper coverage of federal petroleum refining violations is la cking, the news articles that were reported suggest that certain factors l ead to the likelihood of greater news article coverage. These major factors include: 1) initial data EPA case was filed by the EPA; 2) location of the violating refinery; 3) larg e penalty, compliance, and SE P amounts; a nd 4) refining capacity. Results from a content analysis of th ese articles were presented in Chapter Six. The following sections provide a discussion of the reasons why these factors appear to lead to greater news coverage of pe troleum refining industry violations. Initial Date of Case Filed by the EPA Twelve of the seventeen articles (70.6 %) appeared in news sources on the same day the EPA case was filed or in the week im mediately following the initial case filing. No articles appeared on the day the case wa s settled by the EPA or on days immediately following the settlement. The violation data used in the news articles is more than likely gathered by reporters from the EPA through the Compliance and Enforcement Newsroom press release web page. If the EPA only provide s press releases on the date the case was initially filed, it seems obvious why articles are reported in conj unction with the case filing date rather than the case settlement date. However, it appears reporters do not attempt to report anything more than what the EPA provides in their press releases. Perhaps if the EPA were willing to provide more detailed information to the press
139 regarding the violations, reporters would be more apt to provide more details in their articles. On the other hand, if reporters were interested in delving deeper into the violation cases, they would discover a great deal of information in available on the EPA web site. It appears likely that reporting is linked to press releases provided by the EPA. It is not possible to link news articles with past press releases because the EPA does not keep archives of past press releases prior to 2003. Future research should compare article information with information presented in EPA press releases. Location of the Violating Refinery News articles addressing federal petrol eum industry violations were more likely to appear if a violating refi nery was located in the community in which the news source was primarily distributed. Thirteen of the se venteen articles (76.5%) addressed violations committed by local refineries. While this fact or may not be surprising, it suggests that some reporters/editors consider environmenta l violations more newsworthy than other reporters/editors. Even though most of these articles made connections with local refineries, only two articles addressed local concerns and interviewed residents. More importantly, it appears that environmental crime in the form of petroleum refining industry violations is considered a local concern, not a nati onal concern. Unlike homicides and other violent crimes (which make national headlines), environmental crime is only viewed as a local problem and therefore, not worthy of national attention, despite the fact that there are more environmental offenses committed each year than homicides.
140 Penalty Amounts In sixteen of the seventeen articles (94%), EPA penalty sought, compliance amount, and SEP amount were reported. The cases reported on in news articles were all ranked as the top cases in terms of the amount of the penalty sought, the compliance costs, and SEP costs. News articles only reported on cases in which the total EPA costs exceeded $20,000,000. Consequently, cases involving lower penalties, compliance costs, and SEP amounts did not receive any coverage It appears that the summation of the penalty amount sought, compliance amount, an d SEP amount is the greatest factor leading to news article covera ge of petroleum refinery i ndustry violations. The problem with reporting only the most costly cases means that the serious ness of the case is determined by the penalty amounts and not by other more important factors. For example, harm to the community is not re ported by the press nor measured by the EPA. High compliance costs are often associated w ith court costs and may not be directly linked to the seriousness of the case. In other ca ses, self-disclosure of violations led to the assessment of lower penalties by the EPA. On ly the seven most costly cases received news coverage. Serious cases that did not receive penalties in excess of $20,000,000 in fines did not receive coverage despite the fact that many of these violations are responsible for a wide range of environmen tal and human health problems. Reporting of federal petroleum refining viola tions is directly related to economic issues and not human health issues. Refining Capacity News coverage of petroleum industry viol ations is more likel y to occur in the violating company is responsible for a high pe rcentage of the total United States refining
141 output. Bigger companies receive more me dia attention. While not surprising, these findings suggest that smaller companies in vi olation of environmenta l statutes are less likely to receive news coverage. Again, the seriousness of the offense is overlooked when reporting decisions are made. Discussion Summary Research Question #3 The purpose of the news articles is to provide the public with newsworthy information. With the respect to the pe troleum refining industry, it appears that information regarding violations is newswo rthy if the EPA provide s a press release and reporters do not need to investigate further. In addition, if a local refi nery is in violation of environmental statutes, news worthiness increases at the local level. The greatest factor related to reporting violations has to do w ith the amount of fines imposed by the EPA, rather than with the seriousness of the offe nse, which supports the findings presented by Randall and Defillippi (1987). If the offens e did not result in more than $20,000,000 in fines, it was not newsworthy. Lastly, if th e refining capacity of the company was relatively insignificant, the viol ations were not newsworthy. Research Question #4 The purpose of research question 4 was to examine whether or not petroleum refining industry penalty assessment deci sions were affected by the racial and socioeconomic composition of the communities surrounding the vi olating facility and to ascertain whether other factors influenced EP A penalty assessment decisions. The results indicated that community race characteristic s were not significant predictors of the preliminary or assessed penalty. Consequent ly, the present study examined whether or not community race, ethnic, and class charac teristics impacted the departure from the
142 EPA penalty recommendation. For example, if the penalty initially sought by the EPA was $100,000, would the final penalty assessment be lower (or closer to the original amount sought) in minority and low-income communities and higher (greater than the original amount) in predominantly white and higher income communities. Several regression models were estim ated in order to answer the revised question. Voluntary Disclosure Whether or not a company voluntarily disclosed a violation had no significant impact on the penalty difference. Although the EPA indicates that they are more lenient with facilities that self-disclose violations, the penalty differences in the present study did not lend support for leniency. This result however must be interpreted with caution due to the low number of companies that self-discl osed violations (21 cases or 13%). Other factors may have influenced EPA decisions de spite the self-disclosure of the violations. The impact of voluntary disclosures on pe nalty assessments needs to be further examined, with the inclusion of a wider range of cases. Number of Violations Not surprisingly, companies with more vi olations received higher departures in the penalty amounts. In other words, the fi nal penalty assessment was greater in cases involving multiple law violations. In cases invo lving just one violation, the final penalty assessment more closely matched the amount in itially sought by the EPA. These results suggest that the EPA considers the number of law violations when making penalty assessment decisions.
143 Percent Minority, African-Americ an, Hispanic, and Below Poverty The percent minority (African-American a nd Hispanic), the percent Hispanic, and the percent below poverty within a three-mile radius of the violating facility had no significant impact on the penalty difference. However, percent African-American within a three-mile radius did have a significant eff ect on the penalty difference. As indicated in Chapter Six, a one-percent increase in the African-American population decreased penalty departure amounts by more than 9 percent. Results from the present study indicate that the percentage of African-American resident s in a community surrounding a violating facility appears to have an eff ect on penalty assessment decisions. Primarily African-American communities are again, negati vely and disproportionately impacted by environmental decisions which further supports the growing literature on environmental justice. Supplemental Environmental Project Amount Of the 162 cases included in the pres ent study, eight cases involved violating facilities located in communities with a greater than 60 percent African-American composition while fourteen cases involved violating facilities located in communities with a greater than 60 percent White composition. The average supplemental environmental project amount in primar ily African-American communities was $3,571. The average supplemental environmental project amount in primarily white communities was $436,000 or one-hundred and twenty-two times higher than the mean supplemental amount in primarily African-American commun ities. Furthermore, the mean departure for primarily White communities was nearly $275,000, nearly twenty times higher than in primarily African-American comm unities ($13,608). These results indicate that the racial
144 composition of the community surrounding a vi olating facility have an impact of the penalty assessment decision-making process. Ho wever, due to the small number of cases involving high concentrations of African-Ame rican communities, these results must be interpreted with caution. Thes e results however, do lend supp ort for the underlying basis of the environmental justice movement whic h states that environmental hazards are disproportionately impacting African-Amer ican communities (Mohai and Bryant, 1992; UCC, 1987; Bullard, 1983) and that Af rican-American communities receive less protection than predominantly white comm unities (Lynch, Stretesky, and Burns, 2004a, 2004b; Lavelle and Coyle, 1992). Discussion Summary The results from the present study contri bute to the growing body of literature on environmental crime and justice and in part icular, media coverage of environmental crime. To a large extent, the results presen ted in the preceding chapter are not surprising. Environmental crime in the form of petroleu m refining industry violations is rampant. Almost every petroleum refining facility is in violation of one or more environmental statutes. Almost half of all facilities were in noncompliance of the Clean Air Act for 7-8 quarters of 8. As indicated by the infrequency of EPA and state inspections, the EPA and states do not appear to have the financial or enforcement personnel to effectivel y inspect every facility in a two year time period. Most companies do not self -disclose violations even though the EPA has specifically stated it will be more lenient with companies that self-report violations. When compared to primarily White communities, AfricanAmerican communities are negatively and disproportionately impacted by penalty assessment decisions. Again, results indicate that environmental crimes committed by the
145 petroleum refining industry are widespr ead, just taking into consideration crimes known to the EPA. Although environmental crimes committed by the petroleum refining industry are widespread, the mainstream mass media does no t focus much attention on this type of crime. Over a six year time period, only seve nteen articles from the nationÂ’s leading newspapers reported on federal violations committed by the petroleum refining industry. Violations were rarely news worthy unless they affected a local community and received fines in excess of $20,000,000. A content analysis of the seventeen articles reveals that what is reported may actually do more harm th an good. There is no critical reporting on the industry as a whole. Envi ronmental violations are repor ted in general terms. Human health consequences associated with the viol ations were either i gnored or glossed over. Enforcement action was given a lot of hype in terms of quotes from EPA and government officials but no follow-up articl es actually reported on enforcement results. The offenders are given more than enough press coverage and the ability to defend their actions, creating the image of a remorseful company that didnÂ’t realize they we re in violation of an environmental statute rather than creati ng the image of a knowi ngly negligent offender committing an environmental crime. Only two of the seventeen articles included quotes from the actual victims of the environmental violations. If th e public is only exposed to environmental crimes committed by the pe troleum refining industry via newspaper reports, it should come as no surprise that th ese violations are not regarded as serious crimes, if crimes at all.
146 Chapter Eight Conclusions When it comes to hazards in the workplace and the environment, the safe response, which has come to be accepted as scientifically responsible, is to say nothing and do nothing until we have clear proof that the hazard has actually made people sick (Davis, 2002: xvii). We wasted fifty years debating the ro le of cigarettes in causing cancer, and we cannot afford to waste anot her fifty years before we develop strategies to prevent environmental cancer and other avoidable diseases (Gaynor, 2002: x). The purpose of this dissertation was to highlight the importance of studying environmental crime and to examine media coverage of environmental crime. The purpose of this final chapter is to; present the various ch allenges facing environmental researchers and activists and to offer solu tions; offer suggestions for environmental legislation and enforcement initiatives; provide an overview of corporate and environmental crime research; introduce sour ces of environmental crime data; emphasize areas for future inquiry and analyses; suggest ways in which environmental crime can be presented to the public through mainstream media outlets as well as educational endeavors; and suggest a social justice appr oach to dealing with environmental crime. Challenges to Environmental Crim e Research and Social Activism Researchers engaging in environmental cr ime research and activists fighting for the environment and public health must ta ke into considerati on several challenges inherent in these pursuits. For one, the im mediate consequences of an environmental
147 offense may not appear obvious or severe. Consequently, environmental crime does not fit most peopleÂ’s perceptions of crime. Environmental crime researchers must, in addition to investigating and analyzing environmental crime data, provi de rationalizations for their efforts. Furthermore, environmental crime is a complex issue that involves a wide range of problems, analyses, and so on. Environmental criminology deals with concerns across a wide range of environments (e.g., land, air, water) and issues (e.g., fishing, pollution, toxic waste). It involves conceptu al analysis as well as practical intervention on many fronts, and includes multi-disciplinary strategic assessment (e.g., economic, legal, social and ecological evaluations). It involves the undertaking of organi zational analysis, as well as investigation of monitoring, assess ment, enforcement, and education regarding environmental protection a nd regulation. Analysis needs to be conscious of local, regional, nati onal, and global domains and how activities in each of these overlap. It likewise requires cognizance of the direct and indirect, and immediate and long-term consequences of environmentally insensitive social practices (White, 2003: 484). Researchers must be prepared for the complexities associated with environmental crime research. Even if environmental crime researchers are successful in their empirical efforts, publishing may not be an easy task. Editors are often reluctant to publish studies which do not contribute to mainstream ideas of what constitutes crime. Activists must take into consideration the impact of corporate public relations campaigns which can influence the publicÂ’s perceptions of cor porate wrongdoing. Grassroots activists rarely have the financial resources with which to battle multi-million dollar Â“greenwashÂ” campaigns, utilized by corporations to pres ent an environmentally friendly image. The following section provides a more extens ive discussion of the challenges facing researchers and activists and suggests ways in which these challenges can be overcome.
148 Conceptualization of Crime Researchers are faced with a difficult uph ill battle when they decide to research environmental crime. If, on the one hand, a re searcher wanted to investigate homicide, s/he would not have to spend any time defendi ng the selection of homicide as a crime, a serious infraction, or on definitions of what constitutes a homicide. On the other hand, environmental crime researchers not only have to define environmental crime, they must be prepared to describe in el aborate detail why environmenta l crime should be considered crime. The result is a theoretical and philosoph ical debate in the academic literature about the categorization and meani ng of environmental crime. While environmental crime researchers are busy trying to Â“proveÂ” environm ental crime is indeed crime, corporations are continuing to illegally (a nd legally) release pollutants into the environment, and continuing to harm environmental and public health. It is possible to change public concep tions about certain is sues but not without extensive time and effort. For example, smoking cigarettes used to be considered socially acceptable. Political and public attitudes to ward smoking have changed significantly since the 1960s, when the Surgeon General repo rted on the health hazards associated with smoking cigarettes. Numerous studies have shown that cigarette smoking causes various forms of cancer. Laws have been passed a ll across the nation that ban cigarette smoking in public venues. Anti-smoking campaigns have appeared in the mainstream mass media. But public attitudes toward smoking did not change over night. Even when it was extremely apparent that cigarette smoking caused numerous health problems, attitudes and behaviors toward smoking did not change immediately. We needed more proof and more studies to confirm that cigarette smoking was causing illness and disease.
149 Illustrating the laborious effort needed to prove cause and effect, Devra Davis, author of When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution (2002: xi-xii) tells a story abou t a study involving the air inside airplanes: In the early 1980s, I reached a distur bing conclusion. I was working at the National Academy of Sciences on what turned out to be a four-year-long study of air inside airplanes. The in vestigation didnÂ’t need to be four years, or even one. But Senator Dani el K. Inoyune had given the Federal Aviation Administration half a million dollars to fund a committee at the academy to find out why he kept getti ng sick after his regular eight-hour trips from Honolulu to Washington. .I found out an easy way to answer the senatorÂ’s question. From a friend at the Environmental Protection Agency, I borrowed a clunky piece of equipment called a piezobalance, which could measure the weight of airborne particles smaller than a human hair, such as those produced by cigarette smoke. I set off on a flight to Paris. .By the end of the flight, I had the answ er. The levels of particles in the smoking and nonsmoki ng sections were identical. The senator kept getting sick because for all his lungs cared, he might as well have been sitting with heavy smokers. When I got back to Washington I eagerly told my boss at the academy the good news. Â‘We donÂ’t need to do a study for the senator!Â’ He looked at me nervously and asked, Â‘What are you talking about?Â’ I suggested we coul d save time and money if we went out and studied a couple more planes and prepared a short report. After I explained what I had done, he sighed and shook his head. Â‘You canÂ’t do anything with those numbers. No committee reviewed what you were going to do. Nobody approved this project.Â’ Half a million dollars and four years later, the official academy study confirmed what I had found in a single flight. The purpose of DavisÂ’s story is to illustrate the importance of extensive research in our society. It is not enough to have a few studies linking environmental contaminants to human health problems. We need hundreds of valid and reliable studies to show that environmental pollution and toxins cause illness and disease. A nd even then, studies arenÂ’t enough. The information must be made available to the public in an understandable format. Most people do not read academic jour nals. Consequently, in order to change
150 public perceptions as to what constitutes cr ime, information must be presented to the public in a Â“friendlierÂ” format. For example, the movie Erin Brockovich had more of an impact on the publicÂ’s perception of envi ronmental crime than any academic study because it reached millions of people and also entertained as it informed. Corporate and Political Backlash Researchers and activists must take into account the vast amount of financial and political resources that corpor ations have to resist change Corporations appear more willing to spend billions on touting an envi ronmentally conscious image than to spend that money on actually changing their practices Â“GreenwashÂ” refers to public relations efforts to pose as friends of the envi ronment through elabor ate public campaigns. Corporations developed Â“greenwashÂ” as a st rategy for dealing with the community-based environmental movement. Corporate economists determined that it would be more cost effective to change the corporationÂ’s image ra ther than their practices. In the past few decades, corporations have appeared to become more concerned with the environment. They have established environmental depart ments with environmental personnel; created environmental programs; presented envi ronmentally-themed media campaigns; and instituted voluntary policies and principl es. On the surface, their efforts seem conscientious. However, a more careful examination reveals that safer alternatives are ignored; the worst polluters ar e the biggest supporters of Ea rth Day; and researchers and activists are treading in shark-infested waters: In 2001, Elihu Richter and colleagues co mpiled a list of fourteen instances in the United States and other countries in which public health professionals were prevented from amassing data, where data were distorted by public relations concerns, where researchers were attacked or removed from their positions after warn ing of hazards, or where they were
151 blackballed or gray-lis ted from participating in research on the environment (Davis, 2002: 276). What can researchers do? In order to counter corporat e Â“greenwashÂ”, researchers and activists must first educat e themselves on the tactics ut ilized by corporations. There are a number of excellent resources available that describe the PR strategies employed by corporations, and that detail ways of dea ling with such campaigns (e.g., Greer, J. and Bruno, K. 1996. Greenwash: the reality behind corporate environmentalism : Apex Press and Beder, S. 2002. Global Spin: the corporate assault on environmentalism : Chelsea Green Publishing Company). Changing perceptions of what constitutes crime, simplifying environmental crime research for public consumption, and challenging corporate Â“greenwashÂ” are not easy tasks. Bu t they are necessary for the sake of our environment and health. Suggestions for Environmental Legislation and Enforcement One of the major criticisms of environm ental legislation is its complex nature. One of the major criticisms of environmenta l enforcement is the lackadaisical effort given to criminal prosecution. While envir onmental crime prosecution has increased in recent years, there has been little prog ress in punishing or deterring corporate environmental violence. Regulatory agencies and the federal judiciary have been slow, cautious, or reluctant (if at all) to bring criminal char ges against corporations for environmental crimes. In most cases of e nvironmental crime, the probability of being caught is extremely low. While the presen t study cannot unravel all of the problems associated with environmental legislation and enforcement, a number of suggestions regarding legislation and enfor cement can be suggested. Across our nation, at the federal,
152 state, and local level, law enforcement officer s, prosecutors, and judges are faced with an overwhelming task: to inves tigate, apprehend, and prosecu te criminal offenders, in addition to a plethora of othe r responsibilities. Crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, and assault are readily defined and victim s/offenders more easily determined as compared to defining environmental crime a nd ascertaining victims/offenders. Resources and personnel are often scarce. Consequently, the majority of criminal enforcement and prosecution efforts center on trad itional forms of crime. In order to effectively reduce environmental crime, we need to not only raise the punishment but also increase the probability of catching offenders. Environmental crime investigation and enforcement may be given more attention if: 1. Law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges were made aware of the grave dangers associated with environmental crime. 2. Law enforcement, prosecutors, and ju dges were given special training in understanding environmental legislati on, investigation, and enforcement. 3. Policies were instituted that required the pursuit of criminal penalties for environmental crimes rather than administ rative or civil penalti es. Administrative and civil remedies would only be used if there were no criminal remedies available. 4. Individuals from multiple agencies gave their commitment to environmental crime enforcement and prosecution. 5. Punishments for environmental crime incl uded not only substantial fines and the threat of incarceration but also require d mandatory clean-ups and publication of judgments in the mass media.
153 The threat of serious punishment, including in carceration, is a more effective deterrent than the threat of a fine. Bu t Â“deterrence only works if the sanction to which the potential polluter is exposed is much higher than th e amount of damage he might he causingÂ” (Sjogren and Skough, 2004: 59). Corporate and Environmental Crime Research Recently, Lynch, McGurrin, and Fenwick (2004) examined the representation of white-collar crime and cor porate crime research (19931997) in leading criminology journals, introductory criminal justice text books, and criminology Ph.D. programs. Lynch et al (2004) found that only 40 articles ( 3.6%) of 1,118 journal artic les focused on whitecollar or corporate crime and the majority (30 or 75%) appeared in two of the disciplines most critical or liberal jour nals. In each of the remaining mainstream journals, less than 2.3 percent of articles pertaine d to white-collar or corporat e crime. Lynch et al (2004) examined 16 textbooks and found that of the 9,410 total pages of text, only 425 pages (4.5%) were devoted to white-c ollar or corporate crime. Only 9 of 21 Ph.D. programs offered a class in white-collar crime; howev er, most only offered the program once every two years and none of these programs requi red the course for completion of the doctorate. Lynch et al (2004) clearly show that white-collar and corporate crimes are seriously neglected in the crimi nological literature, in textbooks and in course offerings. As a subset of these crimes, environmental crimes received very little attention. Environmental Crime Data It is obvious that our discipline need s an environmental awakening. Researchers complain that there is a lack of data availa ble to study environmental crime. However, the complaints stem from the fact that there is not a centralized system of environmental
154 crime data (Burns and Lynch, 2004). There is, however, a wealth of environmental crime data. Recently, Burns and Lynch (2004) published Environmental Crime: A Sourcebook which in addition to presenting an overvi ew of environmental laws, the EPA, and enforcement practices, discusses in detail the various sources of environmental crime data which include data from EPA databases and non-EPA databases. The data are now readily available on the internet. In addition to the data described in Burns and Lynch (2004), there is a great deal of medical and ep idemiological data that can be utilized to study human health and environmental crime. The following books also address ways in which environmental crime can be studied and analyzed: Murphy, B.L. and Morrison, R.D., eds. 2001. Introduction to Environmental Forensics Academic Press. Gilbert, R.O. 1987. Statistical Methods for Environmental Pollution Monitoring New York: John Wiley and Sons. Drielak, S.C. 1998. Environmental Crime: Evidence gathering and investigative techniques CC Thomas. Current Environmental Crime Research Environmental crime research is a rela tively new area. Within criminology, much of this research has been conducted within the past decade. Res earchers have spent a great deal of time defining environmental crime and justifying its exis tence as a form of corporate violent crime. In addition, much of the environmental crime research has focused on issues related to environmental justice and the dispr oportionate impact of environmental hazards on minorities and th e poor. The existing body of environmental crime and justice research has created a so lid foundation for future research. Applied research is necessary in order to utilize the data to create meaningful change.
155 Future Environmental Crime Research There is a wide range of future resear ch endeavors relevant to environmental crime. According to Lynch and Burns (2004), the discipline of criminology needs to redirect the study of crime fr om street crimes to environmental and corporate crime. Research should examine federal and state enforcement trends of environmental laws and compare federal/state enforcement of environm ental laws with federal/state enforcement of other laws. Cross-cultural comparisons of environmental law, crime, justice, and enforcement actions as well as an examinati on of public perceptions and media coverage of environmental crime in ot her nations would greatly enha nce the environmental crime literature. Furthermore, research should ex amine the role of the government as a major source of environmental polluti on and examine the role of organized crime syndicates as sources of anti-environmental activities incl uding the illegal disposal of toxic waste. The research on media coverage of co rporate and environmental crime remains largely limited. The research that has been conducted clearly shows that the media underreport corporate and environmental crime a nd do not treat corporat e and environmental offenses as crime. Future research into th e relationship between crime presentation and the media should take into consideration ne ws media selection and production processes. In addition, research should examine the ex tent to which the news and entertainment media affect crime and justice attitudes, beliefs, and policies (Surette, 1992). The news media emphasizes extreme and drama tic cases. Environmental crime cases are extreme and dramatic stories. Â“Criminologists ma y well serve the commonwealth when they unmask the implicit biases of reporters a nd challenge the media to join the public
156 discourse concerning the seriousness and poten tial criminality of corporate violenceÂ” (Wright et al., 1995: 35). Although previous research as well as th e present study contributes to the growing body of corporate and environmental literatur e, specific questions still need to be addressed and/or further examined. In Ja nuary of 2000, David R. Simon presented a specific agenda for corporate and en vironmental crime research in the American Behavioral Scientist (Simon, 2000). Specifically, Simon suggested that the following questions be examined in future research endeavors (2000: 10-11): 1. What additional violations of corporate crime laws are exhibited by the various chemical and other firms that have been convicted of multiple violations of hazardous waste and other environmental laws? 2. What are the specific relationships betw een the firms convicted of numerous violations of various envir onmental laws and the EPA? 3. What influence do powerful petrochemical and other firms frequently convicted of environmental criminal violations have on Congress and on the executive branch of the federal government? 4. What patterns of criminality exist in wh ich government agencies and corporations violate environmental laws in a co-conspiratorial fashion? 5. How are victims of environmental crimes presented in the media? In addition, at what point does the mainstream ma ss media become concerned enough about environmental crimes to give them major and/or sustained attention? 6. What corporate interlocks exist between firms in environmentally related fields and other sectors of American capitalism?
157 In addition to investigating these ques tions in future res earch, Simon (2000) suggests that it is necessary for criminol ogists to examine the relationship between environmental crime and major criminologica l theories. Future re search should also continue to include the petroleum industry as a focus of inquiry. The petrochemical industry has a long history of criminal activity (Simon, 2000) and the EPA recognizes that the petroleum refining i ndustry is one of the most polluting industries in the United States. Future analyses which include a larg er sample of ECHO cases would more than likely lend greater support for the re sults reported in the present study. Environmental Crime Activism Future environmental crime research is a good step in the right direction. However, research isnÂ’t enough. Academic s must be willing to become active participants in the fight to eliminate and reduce corporate and environmental violence. We must not only research, we must act Beyond contributing to the growing body of environmental crime literature, criminologists can use their knowledge and expertise to educate the public and their students as well as to assist in grassroots activist efforts. Newsmaking Criminology Newsmaking criminology refers to crim inologistsÂ’ conscious efforts and activities in interpreting, influenci ng, or shaping the presentation of Â‘newsworthyÂ’ items about crime an d justice. More specifically, a newsmaking criminology attempts to demystify images of crime and punishment by locating the mass medi a portrayals of incidences of Â‘seriousÂ’ crimes in the context of al l illegal and harmful activities; strives to affect public attitudes, thoughts, and discourses about crime and justice so as to facilitate a public policy of Â‘crime controlÂ’ base d on structural and historical analyses of institutional development; allows criminologists to come forth with their knowledge and to establish themselves as credible voices in the mass-mediated arena of policy formation; and asks of criminologists that they devel op popularly based languages and technically based skills of communica tion for the purpose of participating
158 in the mass-consumed ideology of crime and justice. A newsmaking criminology invites criminologists and ot hers to become part of the massmediated production and consumption of Â‘seriousÂ’ crime and crime control. It requires that they share their knowledge with the general public. (Barak, 1988: 566). Academic involvement in the media process will not be an easy task. Chapter Two discussed the ownership of the majo rity of mass media outlets by just six conglomerates. Furthermore, many of the direct ors of these top media corporations sit on the boards of directors of some of the larg est Fortune 500 companies and Â“interlock with each other through shared directorships in other firmsÂ” (Ruggiero and Sahulka, 1999). For example, NBC, Fox News, and Time Warn er each have a board member who sits as a director on tobacco producer Philip Morri sÂ’s board. According to Parenti (1997), Â“the Boards of Directors of print and broa dcast news organizations are populated by representatives of Ford, G.E., G.M., Genera l Dynamic, Coke, ITT, IBM, Dow-Corning, Philip Morris, AT&T, and others. Given that distribution of ownership, itÂ’s not surprising that the concerns of labor are downplayed in the mediaÂ”. Criminologists can and should challenge the media elite and get involved in the media discourse on crime and justice. To encourage the media to report on environmental crime, researchers with important information to present to the public need to establish tie s with reporters and members of the press. MediaResource (media resource.org) is a non-profit organization which serves as a bridge between science an d the media. According to MediaResource, journalists who contact the organization can ge t help at no charge in locating expert sources of information on science and tech nology to interview for their news and feature stories. MediaResourc e maintains a database of 30 ,000 scientists, engineers,
159 physicians and policy-makers who have agr eed to provide inform ation on short notice to print and broadcast journalists. Th e Society of Environmental Journalists (www.sej.org) is also a good source of contact for crimin ologists who want to get involved in the media process. SEJ's primar y goal is to advance publ ic understanding of critically important envir onmental issues through more and better environmental journalism. A survey of print and broadcast media jour nalists found that more than half of the journalists (52%) admitted they avoided stor ies that were too complex (Pew Research Center, 2000). Researchers must be able to e xplain their findings to reporters in clear and concise terms. In order to change public perceptions of crime, the mass media must not only report on environmental crime but also cal l it Â“crimeÂ”. Research ers can assist with the reporting if they are willing to do the work. Tenure is based on peer-reviewed publications. More than likely, trying to ge t a message out to the public via the mass media will do nothing to further oneÂ’s academic career. However, it will have a greater impact on our environment and health. We know that the mass media play a cr itical role in th e shaping of public perceptions of crime and justice. As criminologists, we need to become part of the social construction of public opinion of crime and justice. We cannot continue to leave the media construction of crime and justice solely to journalists and the media elite. In addition to establishing rela tionships with media pers onnel and providing different perspectives for crime news, criminologists can be more than just information sources. We can also produce crime information. Whether or not one agrees with the information presented by Michael Moore in his array of documentaries, it is apparent his efforts have
160 attracted a great deal of pub lic attention. Criminologists can work with media personnel to not only supply information but also to pr oduce our own media displays of information in the form of documentaries, news briefs, and the like. Furthermore, criminologists can participate in community-based events and pr ojects which unite local concerns, research agendas, and media attention. Environmental Education In order for environmental crime to be better understood and recognized as crime, it needs to be a topic that is taught to individu als of all ages. It wasn Â’t until well into my criminology graduate program that I was even exposed to white-collar crime or corporate crime. Most colleges do not offer corporate or environmental crime courses. Most high schools do not even offer introductory crim inology or criminal justice courses. Discussions of crime are generally included in social studies classe s and are non-critical in nature. Children are told to watch out for strangers and to Â“Just Say No!Â”Â” I found just one book related to environmental crime aime d at middle and high sc hool aged children (Arneson, D.J. 1991. Toxic Cops Franklin Watts). There is very little research that examines criminal justice education at th e elementary, middle, and high school level. This type of research is im portant. What are we teaching kids about crime? What we learn from the age of 5-18 has a major impact on what we believe as an adult. For example, I am constantly challenged by co llege students who have a difficult time accepting information I present even though it is based on academic research. Their opinions on certain topics were formed at a young age, by their parents, and were reinforced over fourteen years of school. Wh en these same kids start college, they are dealing with huge life changes such as m oving away from home for the first time,
161 exposure to more choices, etc. College isnÂ’t just about learning, it is about adjustment. It is difficult for college professors to have an impact on student perceptions when we are competing against 1) parental opinions; 2) f ourteen years of education; 3) and college adjustment issues. Consequently, criminal justice education shoul d begin at a younger age. According to Cheurprakobkit and Bart sch (2000), most public high schools do not offer criminal justice or criminology cour ses because they have difficulty finding qualified teachers and textbooks. Most instru ctors are law enforcement officers and the vast majority of textbooks are written for college students. Gene ral criminal justice education at the high school level is lacking; consequen tly exposure to environmental crime is not even on the radar. Children may not need direct exposure to criminology and criminal justice education; however, they do need exposure to theories and perspectives that allow them to explore the relationship between humans a nd nature and our place in the natural world. Adults can benefit from environmental educati on as well. In general, science literacy in the United States is fairly low. Accordi ng to Ross (1999), the public is overfed on information but starved for understanding. Knowle dge of basic scientif ic concepts, facts, and vocabulary can make it easier for th e public to follow new developments and participate in the public discourse on scientific issues (Ross, 1999). A Social Justice Approach to Dealing with Environmental Crime People often believe that responsibility for health rests entirely with the individual and therefore, public health threats such as AIDS, smoking, heart disease, and cancer are
162 individual problems. Changi ng public opinion begins with informed education but awareness is just the beginning. Effective public opinion is more than widespread awareness of a social problem, more than desire for change more than a planned demonstration on a busy street corner designed to draw the attention of otherwise uninterested passersby. Inst ead, effective public opinion is that expression of sentiment that actually reaches the systematic agenda of political decision-makers (Salmon and Christensen, 2003: 7). A social justice approach means that re searchers and activists work together to fight against environmental crime. It means examining the underlying structural causes of environmental crime. It means contributing to informed public participation efforts to eliminate environmental crime and injustice. There are a number of organizations and agencies which advocate a social justice appr oach to dealing with injustice. One such organization is the CitizenÂ’s Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste. CitizenÂ’s Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste The CitizenÂ’s Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste (CCHW) is a non-profit organization founded in 1981 by Lois Gibbs, lead er of the campaign at Love Canal. The CCHW is a national grassroots or ganization which strives to Â“t ranslate scientific issues into plain languageÂ” (Gibbs, 1995: xxiii) and he lp activists fight for environmental and human health causes. In 1995, Gibbs published Dying from Dioxin The first section of the book describes the health impacts of di oxin exposure with reference to EPA and several scientific studies. The second pa rt of the book details how communities can organize and fight for their health. Gibbs emphasizes that just knowing the truth wonÂ’t stop corporations from polluting the envir onment; community organization is necessary. She also points out that the EPA is not an al ly; in reality the EPA protects the right to
163 pollute by justifying standard s that protect the interest s of corporations and the government. According to Gibbs, successful organizations are community based, but nationally linked; they involve a large and diverse group of people; and offer up a clear and simple plan of action. The organization plan outlined in Dying from Dioxin (1995) is a must-read for grassroots activists. Gibbs knows that effective change begins at the community level: We need to make it more expensive to pollute than it is to change. Corporations will not change beha vior because CEOS wake up one morning and decide that stopping po llution is the right thing to do. Corporations will change because people-consumers, voters, and workersconvince them that they must change This change will not come from Washington, D.C. It will not appear in the form of a top-down regulatory mandate. Changes in corporate behavior will only be accomplished through people working at the local level, then joining toge ther at the state level, and then at the national le vel. Change depends on you, me, and millions of others who are willing to make that leap of faith from education into collective action (Gibbs, 1995: 293). The Time is Now I would like to advance a nother notion of responsib ility, the same one we employ every day when, as parents, we send our children out with umbrellas if it looks rainy and lunch m oney if they will need to buy lunch. We donÂ’t wait for them to go hungry or get drenched before we acknowledge that these misfortunes should be prevented. Yet when it comes to environmental health, we are expected to wait until after the factuntil there are dead bodies or ill peop le to count-before taking action to prevent those and other harms from happening. Sometimes not even then (Davis 2002: xix). Every day, thousands of people die from various diseases and illnesses. Their deaths may be recorded as the result of a hear t attack, cancer, stroke or the like. But there will be no parentheses beside the cause of deat h to indicate (lived ne ar a toxic waste site) or (high toxic levels in dri nking water). Their deaths will no t be counted as homicides or
164 negligent manslaughters. The media will not highlight their deaths in print or in newscasts aside from the obligatory obituarie s. Every once in a wh ile, if too many people living in close proximity to one another appear to be getting the same illnesses and same diseases, there might be some social, po litical, and media attention given to the community. If this community is disproportiona tely minority or low-income, the attention will be slow to come and action will be less likely to occur. Social, political, and media attention will only be maintain ed if the very people getti ng sick, who are also trying to raise families and support families, fight for the attention. No one else is going to come to the aid of those suffering unless they have some thing to gain from the assistance. If the local and federal governments are pushed hard enough to respond, then scientists will be called in to ascertain whether or not the illn esses and diseases are directly related to environmental contaminants or toxins. These scientific tests may ta ke years and in the meanwhile, people living in these communities will continue to get sick. The majority cannot move away from the community. They do not have the fina ncial resources to do so and their homes are losing value. The corporations res ponsible for the environmental toxins which are causing the community to suff er begin to cover their tracks and are able to spend millions to prepare defenses and to create PR campaigns that tout their environmentally friendly image. If tests eventually connect the human sickness and disease to the environmental toxins and the co rporations responsible for their illegal (and sometimes legal) presence in the air, soil, or water, the battle is not over. In some cases, the corporation will be required to pay a fi ne. In most cases, the community will be forced to live with the consequences of the environmental contamination. The government rarely relocates communities due to environmental contamination. Rarely, if
165 ever, will a corporate leader face criminal charges for his/her involvement. Social, political, and media attention wi ll be short lived if given at all. And the people will continue to suffer and die. We cannot continue to ignore environmen tal crime and its le thal consequences. There is abundant evidence that industrial pollutants cause a significant number of diseases and illnesses in the United States. Researchers from multiple disciplines need to share their findings and unite in the fight fo r our environment and health. Research isnÂ’t enough. We must also teach about environmen tal crime. We must give our time and expertise to the community. Community groups need the su pport of researchers to effectively challenge the power and financ ial influence of corp orations. We must establish ties with local and national media to get our research into the public eye. We cannot waste anymore time. The time is now.
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184 Appendix A: NationÂ’s Most Wide ly Circulated Newspapers 2004 Newspaper Largest Reported Daily Circulation The Atlanta Journal and Constitution (Georgia) 606,246 The Baltimore Sun (Maryland) 454,045 The Boston Globe (Massachusetts) 707,813 The Boston Herald (Massachusetts) 240,759 The Buffalo News (New York) 282,618 Chicago Sun-Times (Illinois) 963,927 The Columbus Dispatch 361,304 Daily News (New York) 786,952 The Denver Post/Rocky Mountain News (Colorado) 750,593 The Houston Chronicle (Texas) 737,580 Los Angeles Times (California) 1,292,274 Miami Herald (Florida) 416,530 The New York Times (New York) 1,680,583 Omaha World Herald (Nebraska) 242,964 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania) 402,981 San Diego Union-Tribune (California) 433,973 The San Francisco Chronicle (California) 540,314 The Seattle Times (Washington) 462,920 St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri) 449,845 St. Petersburg Times (Florida) 395,973 Star Tribune (Minneapolis MN) 678,650 The Tampa Tribune (Florida) 293,090 The Times-Picayune (Louisiana) 281,374 USA Today (National) 2,665,815 The Washington Post (D.C.) 1,007,487 Source: Audit Bureau of Circulation http://www.accessabc.com/reader/top100.htm
About the Author Melissa L. Jarrell receiv ed a BachelorÂ’s degree in Anthropology from Eckerd College in May 1998 and a MasterÂ’s degree in Criminology from the University of South Florida in May 2000. She has worked as the Aquatics Coor dinator for Campus Recreation since 1998 and began teaching fo r the Department of Criminology in 2000. In addition, she has taught as an adjunc t instructor for the School of Physical Education, Wellness, and Sports Studies for the past two years. Dr. Jarrell successfully defended her dissertation on April 1st, 2005 and will be moving to Corpus Christi, Texas in August 2005 to begin her new position as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justi ce at Texas A&M University.