Scott Frickel & James R. Elliott

Scott Frickel is a sociology professor at Brown University, and James R. Elliott is a sociology professor at Rice University. They are co-authors of the 2018 book Sites Unseen: Uncovering Hidden Hazards in American Cities.


Recent Articles

The Hidden Hazards Beneath Trump’s Dismantling of the EPA

The administration’s efforts to speed up the redevelopment of hazardous sites is one more step in its efforts to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency and put the public at risk.

(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
The Trump administration has been taking steps, some quietly, some very publicly, to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). One such quiet step was the administration’s proposal earlier this year to speed up agency efforts to remediate and redevelop former industrial and other hazardous sites known as Superfund sites and brownfields. On its face, the proposal might seem like a bright spot. But EPA officials actually envision using public funds to clean up private lands owned by developers like President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner to prepare these sites for massive redevelopment projects. It’s an old but deceptive approach, cleaning up a handful of highly visible, hazardous sites and creating the appearance that the EPA is keeping the public safe, while leaving the vast majority of potentially toxic sites untouched, their risk to the public unaddressed. Indeed, America’s cities are built on top of former industrial sites that have largely...