"Powerful Polluters: The Foundations of Environmental Privilege in the US Coal-Fired Power Industry"
By: Anya M. Galli, Ph.D. Candidate
Abstract: The project studies the institutional arrangements and discursive mechanisms that allow heavily polluting industries to continue operating in the face of declining economic benefits and increasing opposution from environmental interests. Whereas previous studies of environmental inequality have focused predominately on environmental problems, my dissertation research explores the specific processes by which the environmental privilege of industrial polluters is created and maintained. I bring together theoretical perspectives from multiple strands of sociological inquiry, including researc on disproportionality and the production of enrivornmental inequality, research on bureaucracies and corporate control in environmental governance , and theories of legitimation, hegemonic discourse, and framing. Using the US coal-fired power industry as a case study, I analyze three componentes of environmental privilege: 1) patterns of disproportionality, wherin a minority of industrial facilities produce the majority of pollution in their sector; 2) the ability of large industrial actors to navigate complex bureaucracies and exert control over regulatory agencies; and 3) the construction of discursive frames and narratives that lend legitimacy and support to industry interests.