The Limits of Environmental Remediation Protocols for Environmental Justice Cases: Lessons from Vieques, Puerto Rico


The United States Federal Government has repeatedly put the people of Vieques, Puerto Rico in harm's way due to the injurious after-effects of air-to-ground weapons testing. Most of the harm happened during the Navy's 70 years on the island. Yet, the harm continues today considering that aspects of the cleanup count as continued acts of environmental injustice, viewed within the context of the island's colonial history. Usually, this harm deals with public health issues, but the remediation protocols do not account for considerations such as cultural identity and heritage. This paper shows how the procedures for environmental remediation in Vieques qualify as a case of environmental injustice according to Robert M. Figueroa's 'environmental justice paradigm.' The aim of employing this kind of approach is to pinpoint the underlying reasons why this is a case of environmental injustice.


Arts, Languages, and Philosophy

Keywords and Phrases

Colonialism; Environmental Justice; Remediation Protocols; Superfund; Vieques

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1028-2580; 1477-2248

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2015 Taylor & Francis, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2015