Environmental justice & shale gas: spatial intersections between energy development and vulnerable rural populations

Authors: Amanda Waggoner*, University of Richmond, Mary Finley-Brook, University of Richmond, Stephen Metts, The New School
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Political Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: GIS, political geography, critical geography, environmental justice, spatial analysis, land cover
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Environmental justice is an important discussion in our country; it relates to participant-observation, cartography, legislation, activism, and community. Environmental justice “EJ” communities - areas where a specific majority of the populace are disproportionately impacted by environmental factors relative to the national or state populace - are prolific throughout the United States. Increasingly, EJ communities are subject to intensive energy extraction and transportation activities such as the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), a 600-mile pipeline designed to transport shale gas. The proposed pipeline involves the addition of new compressor stations in West Virginia, Virginia, and the Carolinas. Compressor stations push fracked gas downstream enabling gas to travel through the pipeline; they emit hazardous toxic air pollutants through this compression which relies on combustion. According to recent research, this pipeline, the compressor stations, and its extraction of chemicals and pollutants pose risks to nearby communities due to close proximity of exposure. In terms of locality, these compressor stations are often placed in EJ communities. This research aims to identify the types of land use classification and demographic conditions under which compressor stations are being built. Our null hypothesis is that these compressor stations are built in primarily rural communities; if this is proven, this research will showcase a newer phenomena of land use that compares rural compressor stations in EJ communities against the more common urban EJ phenomenon. Our work highlights a lesser known EJ impact and displays how compressor stations affect both rural and urban communities.

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