Petroleum, Refineries, and the Future

Environmental Injustice of Petroleum Refineries

Petroleum refineries are causing environmental injustice due to the location in which they are placed. The neighborhoods in which refineries reside generally are those of high minority and/or low-income populations causing a disproportionate effect of the environmental implications. Author of Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom, and the Forces of Capital, Matthew T. Huber describes refineries as “expansive industrial geographies that not only consume vast amounts of space, energy, and water but also contain risks of spills, fires, and explosions” (68). The United States oil refinery capacity is greater than any other country. The next country behind the U.S. is China with about one third capacity of the U.S. (70). The inequality of who absorbs the impact of refineries leads to environmental injustice. As consumers of oil, society needs to recognize the unequal distribution of implications. 

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