Environmental remediation and its discontents

The contested cleanup of Vieques, Puerto Rico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Since protest forced the US Navy off Vieques Island, Puerto Rico in 2003, the US military has embarked on one of the largest environmental remediation projects it has ever undertaken. This article explores the way a narrowly conceived, technocratic cleanup process is translated onto an island with a deep history of grassroots mobilization and antagonism towards federal authority. The Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) is a crucible for considering the uneasy dynamics of cleanup. US law enshrines the RAB as the principal venue for "public participation" in the cleanup process. However, the prevailing technocratic framework, constrained by under-resourced bureaucratic agencies, clashes with more encompassing concepts of environmental justice. Citizen members of the RAB, nonetheless, approach the committee as a point of access to information about the remediation process, and leverage their participation as a tool for advancing a broader set of environmental justice claims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-103
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Political Ecology
Volume25
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018

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Puerto Rico
cleanup
restoration
environmental justice
remediation
justice
federal authority
participation
antagonism
navy
protest
mobilization
Military
citizen
Law
history

Keywords

  • Citizen participation
  • Environmental justice
  • Environmental protection agency
  • Environmental remediation
  • Military
  • Puerto Rico
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service
  • US Navy

Cite this

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Environmental remediation and its discontents : The contested cleanup of Vieques, Puerto Rico. / McCaffrey, Katherine.

In: Journal of Political Ecology, Vol. 25, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 80-103.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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