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Authors

Vicki Been

Abstract

Many proposals to overcome the difficulty of siting locally undesirable land uses (“LULUs”) fairly and efficiently suggest that the problem could be resolved if victims of the siting were adequately compensated for the burdens the LULU imposes. This Article seeks to spur greater attention to the difficult moral and political issues compensation proposals raise by showing that compensation programs are widespread in actual siting practice. It argues that the success of compensation programs, while limited, has been sufficient to ensure that such proposals will continue to be a significant feature of siting programs. It urges those interested in environmental justice to devote greater attention to compensation proposals, and to begin either to articulate an intellectually rigorous critique of the proposals or to develop a strategy for shaping a compensation practice that is beneficial to the movement’s constituency. Part I of this Article briefly reviews the basic theory of the compensation proposals, and provides a simple typology of the various proposals. Part II examines results of surveys that provide some theoretical evidence regarding whether compensation is likely to succeed in persuading communities to accept LULUs. Part III analyzes siting programs that have attempted to use compensation to induce communities to accept various kinds of LULUs. It describes each program and assesses the programs’ failures and successes. Finally, Part IV offers an agenda for study of the moral and practical implications of compensation proposals.

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