Building on the right to know

Data interlinkage and information intermediation for environmental and corporate regulation

Authored by: Richard Puchalsky , Michael Ash , James K. Boyce

The Routledge Handbook of the Political Economy of the Environment

Print publication date:  October  2021
Online publication date:  October  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367410704
eBook ISBN: 9780367814533
Adobe ISBN:


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Right-to-know legislation and rules underpin a substantial share of the US regulatory approach to environment justice. But translating access to data on pollution exposure – from pollutant release and transfer registers – into equitable access to clean air and water requires substantial stakeholder action, which can be especially challenging for socially excluded groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities. Successful protection of environmental justice with right-to-know regulation requires stakeholders with access to information, the ability to interpret information, and the capacity and incentive to respond to information. Intermediation by universities and non-governmental organizations can play a critical role in increasing stakeholder capacity. Interlinkages between environmental data and other social and economic data, including integrative assessment models and data on socioeconomic composition, facility ownership, employment, and public health, can substantially increase the usefulness of these data for stakeholders seeking greater equity in environmental access, including affected communities and activists seeking redress, socially responsible investors and environmentally conscious management, and regulators and planners. We review intermediation and interlinkage with US environmental and related data and discuss technical challenges and solutions.

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