Schatz Energy Research Center
Jill Lindsey Harrison

Thursday, January 27 at 5:30 pm: Jill Lindsey Harrison — Why do government agencies allow environmental inequalities to persist?

In this presentation, Jill Lindsey Harrison will present key findings from her book, From the Inside Out, which lifts the veil on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental regulatory agencies to offer new insights into why they fail to reduce harmful toxics and other hazards in our nation’s most environmentally overburdened and vulnerable communities.

Harrison’s research examines the disappointing pace of environmental regulatory agencies’ environmental justice (EJ) programs and policies as a case through which to understand why, despite reducing air and water pollution for the nation overall, government has not protected the communities who suffer the most.

Other scholars have shown that budget cuts, industry pressure, and other factors outside the control of agency staff constrain the possibilities for EJ reforms to regulatory practice. Via extensive staff interviews and team observations, Harrison’s study shows that agencies’ EJ efforts are also undermined by elements of regulatory workplace culture — including everyday ways in which well-meaning staff dedicated to environmental regulation reject EJ reforms as violating what they think their organization does and should do. These interviews also reveal how EJ staff at government agencies endeavor to change both regulatory practice and regulatory culture, from the inside out.

Jill Lindsey Harrison is an Associate Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on  environmental justice, environmental politics, and immigration politics, with a regional emphasis on the United States.  Her research covers political conflict over agricultural pesticide poisonings in California, escalations in immigration enforcement in rural Wisconsin, and government agencies’ environmental justice reform efforts, with the thread throughout being an aim to help identify and  explain the persistence of environmental inequalities and workplace inequalities in the United States today. Dr. Harrison has written two books, Pesticide Drift and the Pursuit of Environmental Justice (2011)  and From the  Inside Out: The Fight for Environmental Justice within Government Agencies (2019).

About the series

The Sustainable Futures speaker series aims to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration around issues related to energy, the environment, and society. These lectures are sponsored by the Schatz Center, the Environment & Community graduate program, and the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences at Cal Poly Humboldt.

We’re holding the spring 2022 series online via Zoom. All events are free and open to the public.

Live captioning is provided for all talks. To request additional support, please contact or call 707-826-4345.

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