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The four case studies illustrate how the pursuit of civil justice is able to contribute to a fair economy in each of these ways. “Civil justice” refers to holding people and corporations accountable for their actions (or in some cases, their inaction) through laws and procedures that ensure fair compensation for anyone harmed.
"In this report, the Center for Progressive Reform has brought together more than a dozen of the nation’s leading legal scholars to address different aspects of the nation’s disaster planning and its environmental, health, and safety standards, with a particular view to mitigating the social inequities laid bare by last year's storms. The policy solutions they propose will not stop hurricanes or other disasters from occurring. But they could make their impact far less severe by taking toxic chemicals and other dangerous hazards out of the path of storms so that they would not poison those who come into contact with floodwaters; they could make the power grid more agile and adaptable to power shortages and outages; they could reduce the incentives to build in flood zones; they could better protect the health and safety of recovery workers; they could improve disaster response so that it serves all Americans, not just those in wealthier neighborhoods; and they could future-proof vital infrastructure — roads, bridges, pipes, wires — against the creeping effects of climate change that exacerbate the impact and increase the frequency of major storms."
Toxic floodwaters have serious health consequences. After Florence and Harvey, residents in North Carolina and Texas complained of headaches, burning eyes and throats, dizziness, and other health problems. Public health professionals raised concerns about floodwaters leaving a hazardous residue in homes, businesses, water systems, and more. Such health and environmental risks are amplified by social and legal factors. For example, communities that lack access to reliable transportation and temporary housing are more likely to face prolonged exposure to floodwaters and residual contamination. In this way, social vulnerability interacts with geography and climate to produce a health crisis.