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Comment: Migrated to Confluence 4.0

The following are parties involved firsthand with the case.

The People of Kennedy Heights:         


A neighborhood outside of Houston Texas, made up of mostly black residents. They claimed that the crude oil residue left by the oil pits of Chevron, initially owned by Gulf Oil Company, has had a devastating impact on human health in the neighborhood. They said that the residue has seeped into the water system in their neighborhood, plaguing its residents with cancer, illnesses, birth defects, and even death. Sixty of the 1,400 residents reported major illnesses and they attributed the lack of cleanup effort to the predominantly black proportion of residents in the Kennedy Heights neighborhood, making this an environmental justice issue. However, it is important to note that Kennedy Heights, among black neighborhoods in Texas, is one of the more affluent in the category. Though the area's relative wealth does not change its standing of a case of environmental justice, its money may have played an influential role in the neighborhood's ability to hire lawyers and to take the issue to court.


Merger with Gulf Oil, the company is responsible for the oil pits because it originally owned them. It eventually sold the site to John Lester, who developed it, but the pits were their creation and responsibility. The company and its lawyers maintain that while the people of Kennedy Heights may indeed be experiencing adverse health effects, their problems are not associated with the company or the oil pits. They argue that there was no racial intent in the lack of cleanup effort, especially because there is no pressing health need for cleanup based on their company's and the EPA's tests.
John Lester:

President of the Log Development Company, interested in "acquiring the site for a Negro residential and commercial development." Lester bought the land from Gulf Oil in 1968, and despite an appraiser's suggestion to remove the oil pits entirely before building on the site, Lester simply filled them in and built on top of the crude oil remnants. The marketing techniques and subtle details like its name and location suggested a lower-middle class African American target market.

Houston's Capital Projects Department:

After twenty years of complaints about continually rupturing water pipelines, the Capital Projects Department finally began major work on pipe excavation and replacement in the beginning of the 1990's. When a worker collapsed during the excavation, the contractor decided to shut the project down, beginning the testing of the area in certainty.

Pas-Key Construction Services:

The contractors who undertook the water pipeline excavation.

Related Pages: 

WHAT: To find out more about what exactly happened to start the conflict, how the case was carried out, and how it was resolved, click here

WHO: To read about the parties and people involved in the case, click here

WHERE: To find out about the places and forums in which the case took place, click here

HOW: To read about the resolution and solutions for the case, click here

RELATED COURSES: To see what Colby courses may relate to this case study, click here.

SOURCES: To access government documents and news articles concerning the case, click here.