Determinants of environmental law violation fines against petroleum refineries: Race, ethnicity, income, and aggregation effects

Michael J. Lynch, Paul B. Stretesky*, Ronald G. Burns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this work we determine whether monetary penalties assessed against petroleum refineries for violation of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and/or the Resource Conservation and/or Recovery Act differ depending upon the racial, ethnic, and income characteristics of communities surrounding the penalized refinery. Our sample consists of all monetary penalties assessed between April 2001 and April 2003 (n = 206). We find mixed evidence of inequality. The racial, ethnic, and income characteristics of census tracts surrounding the penalized refineries are not related to penalty amounts. However, refineries situated within the boundaries of Hispanic and low-income ZIP codes tend receive smaller penalties than refineries located in non-Hispanic and more affluent ZIP codes. These disparities do not appear to be result of factors such as previous enforcement and compliance history, case characteristics, company and facility characteristics, or the political/economic climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-347
Number of pages15
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Volume17
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2004

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