Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Associate Professor Tom Romero Comments on New Poll Finding That Latinos, Asians More Concerned Than Whites About Environment

Associate Professor Tom Romero of the University of Denver Sturm College of Law recently brought an article to our attention. The article, "Latinos, Asians more worried about environment than whites, poll finds," was published in The Los Angeles Times (Nov. 20, 2010).

Professor Romero, who teaches Water Law and Property Law, added these observations:
"These findings are not surprising given the scholarship of the environmental justice movement that has documented the fact that the burdens of industrial development have almost always been borne by communities of color. As a result of past as well as present practices of racial discrimination in housing and employment markets, communities of color in California, as well as Colorado, live in large concentrations near hazardous chemical waste disposal sites, refineries, industrial operations, freeways and railroads.

"As such, these communities suffer disproportionately ill health and social effects created by air, noise, and water pollution. Yet, that such a large percentage of Latinos and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the California survey, many of whom are recent migrants from the developing world, identified a concern with the environment also speaks to an emerging multi-racial and international sensibility about the laws and policies protecting the environment that has ramifications that stretch far beyond California.

"As the article points out, ignoring the concerns of Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, African Americans, and American Indians is poor advocacy for all of us lawyers and policy makers concerned about protecting the environment."
Professor Romero is one of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law program's full-time professors. He teaches and researches in the areas of the legal history of the American West, Latinos and the law, school desegregation in multiracial contexts, property, land use, water law, and urban development and local government in the United States and Latin America. Professor Romero is currently completing a book-length manuscript on law and race relations in post-World War II Denver.

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