The current natural gas and oil boom in North America requires new pipelines, which pose environmental risks from wellheads to their destinations. The environmental justice literature suggests that ethno-racial minorities, populations with low socioeconomic status, and rural communities are disproportionally exposed to risks associated with potentially harmful land uses. Using data from the American Community Survey's 2015 five-year estimates and data on the route of proposed pipelines compiled by The FracTracker Alliance, this study tests whether the above assumptions are true for proposed FERC-permitted natural gas transmission pipelines in the United States for which planned routes have been made available. The results of logistic regression models provide only limited, and in some cases contradictory, support for these hypotheses. Although an increased share of highly educated residents significantly decreases the likelihood of a pipeline proposal in a census tract, a higher poverty rate also significantly lowers this probability. Likewise, the share of Black and Hispanic residents is significantly and negatively associated with pipeline proposals. However, reliable routing data are needed to test whether this holds true for built pipelines, but these data are considered confidential and thus inaccessible in the United States.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science