Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael J. Lynch, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Andrew Franz, Esq.

Committee Member

Ráchael A. Powers, Ph.D.


Coal Fire Power Plants, Coal Fly Ash, Corporate Environmental Violence, Environmental Crime, Environmental Justice, Environmental Racism


This is an in-depth analysis of coal fire burning power plants, their effects on human health and the environment. It also employed case study data from Tampa Electric Company’s Big Bend facility to examine environmental infractions at that facility. Tampa Electric Company’s Big Bend Utility Plant, violated the Clean Air Act, which led to a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in 1997. This case study details the lawsuit, and subsequent settlement as well as Tampa Electric Company’s record of compliance since 2000. This study examines the area surrounding the plant, and impacts the facility may cause local residents and the ecosystem in this part of Florida. Several questions are explored in this case study revolving around environmental justice and environmental racism. Did the actions taken by the Department of Justice in 2000 on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency and the people of the State of Florida through its Department of Environmental Protection fit the corporate crimes that Tampa Electric were accused of in the lawsuit? Has this company been compliant with state and federal law as required by the settlement? Finally, has the Tampa Electric Company maintained their commitment to provide environmental justice for the communities surrounding the Big Bend Utility Plant or would their actions fit a definition for the crime of corporate environmental violence?