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Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management Corp.

Impact

Bean represented a classic example of citizens fighting the placement of public facilities in their community or neighborhood based on constitutional allegations. Such facilities were often placed in low-income, inner-city, ethnic neighborhoods. However, the Bean decision highlighted that what may be considered poor governmental decisions in some situations were not necessarily unlawful. Bean also reinforced tough standards that citizens must meet in legally challenging the placement of public service facilities.

Later known as the "Not in My Back Yard" syndrome, strategies for citizens combating siting decisions of public service facilities grew more sophisticated in the 1990s. Such grass-roots efforts were driven by fears over health risks, lowering property values, higher traffic volume, and noise and air pollution introduced by the developments. As population growth continued in many areas, community planners and governmental decision-makers found it increasingly difficult to place new public service facilities, such as waste disposal sites, without organized opposition from local residents.

To combat the disproportionate effects of more frequently placing non-desirable public facilities in poor and ethnic areas, President Bill Clinton in the 1990s signed an executive order on "environmental justice." The order stressed greater sensitivity of such communities in project planning processes where federal funds were involved.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management Corp. - Significance, Waste Management In Houston, Laches And State Action, Impact, Further Readings