Robin Saha

Photo of Saha, Robin

Robin Saha

Associate Professor

Office Hours:

Spring semester 2016:  Tuesday 12:30-1:30 PM; Wednesday 2:00-4:00 PM and by appointment

Personal Summary


Robin Saha is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at the University of Montana and affiliated faculty with its School of Public and Community Health Sciences. He is among the leading scholars conducting quantitative studies of environmental inequality for a wide range of industrial facilitiesusing Geographic Information Systems (GIS). His articles appear in leading social science journals including Demography and Social Problems. His teaching and research focuses on the intersection of environmental justice, health and policy with an emphasis on community engagement and empowerment. He is committed to providing assistance to contaminated communities and works actively on tribal environmental issues, including healthy homes technical assistance. He also consults on environmental justice legal cases and conducts environmental justice analyses for a wide variety of governmental agencies and nonprofit advocacy organizations. Dr. Saha also works activilty on muncipal and campus sustainability issues particularly as related to climate change.



Ph.D., Environmental Policy and Behavior, School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2002.

M.S., Natural Resources and Environmental Policy, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1996.

B.A., Environmental Studies and Planning, California State University, Sonoma, 1989.


Courses Taught

Environmental Politics & Policies (ENST 367)

Environmental Citizenship - Service Learning (ENST-CCS 476)

Environmental Justice Issues and Solutions (ENST 489S)

Environmental Organizing (ENST 520)

Local Climate Solutions (ENST 535)

Environmental Justice Issues and Solutions (ENST 595)


Research Interests


Current Projects

Chippewa Cree Climate Adaptation Planning Project

Providing technical assistance and support for the development of a tribal climate adaptation plan for the Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation, including a tribal climate adaptation planning resource guide for the Northern Plains. 

Burning Vulnerable Communities: Trash, Sludge and Biomass Incineration in Communities of Color and Low-Income Communities

In collaboration with the Energy Justice Network, the Clark Atlanta Center for Environmental Justice, and Earthjustice, Dr. Saha is conducting an environmental justice and sustainability analyisis of  currently operating municipal solid waste, sewage sludge and commercial woody bimass incinerators in the United States.  The study seeks: (1) to critically analyze the various promises of biomass and waste incineration and their effects on communities and the environment; (2) to examine the racial and socioeconomic composition of host neighborhoods; (3) to illustrate how individual communities are affected and their responses to the threats posed by biomass-waste incineration; and (4) to present zero-waste and waste reduction alternative to incineration and other climate justice solutions.


Recent Projects

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazard. Washington D.C.: Center for Effective Government. [Contributor].

Who’s In Danger? Race, Poverty and Chemical Disaster. Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, Coming Clean and Center for Effective Government. [Contributor].

Missoula Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Analysis: Toward a Blueprint for Municipal Sustainability

In conjunction with the City of Missoula, Dr. Saha and environmental studies graduate students conducted the City of Missoula's first municipal greenhouse gas emissions inventory for municipal facilities and operations.  The report examined emissions in 2003 and 2008 and provided recommendation to the city to reduce emssions in the future.  The report was released in September 2010 and has subquently resulted in Missoula Conservatoin and Climate Action Plan, released in January 2013.   See:  and

Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty: Grassroots Struggles to Dismantle Environmental Racism

Dr. Saha is a co-author of this report, which updated the 1987 landmark environmental justice report of United Church of Christ (UCC), Toxic Waste and Race in the United States.  Dr. Saha collaborated with Dr. Robert Bullard of Clark Atlanta University, Dr. Paul Mohai of the University of Michigan, and Dr. Beverly Wright of Dillard University.  The report, also commissioned by the UCC, is the first to use 2000 census data, a current national database of commercial hazardous waste facilities, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to count persons living nearby and assess nationally the extent of racial and socioeconomic disparities in facility locations. The report includes numerous environmental policy recommendations and was recently featured during an unprecedented hearing before the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee's Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health.  For a copy of the report, media coverage and related advocacy efforts, see and links at: .

A Community Responds to Living Adjacent to a Mining Waste Repository

Opportunity, Montana is a small, rural community located near the nation’s largest Superfund site and immediately adjacent to a major mining waste repository owned by ARCO (British Petroleum - BP).  Superfund clean-up wastes continue to be deposited here.  Faced with potential threats to human health, a recently formed community organization is currently working with Dr. Saha, his students, and with other non-profit organizations, environmental consultants, government officials, and BP-ARCO to ensure safe water and air quality for the community.

Blackfeet Child Asthma and Healthy Homes Partnership Project

In the United States, the quality of health and health care for Indians is consistently lower than that of other Americans.  Environmental threats, such as solid and hazardous waste, mining, and substandard housing contribute to poor health among Montana’s Indian population. From 2008 to 2011, supported by NIH funding through the Center for Native Health Parterships, Dr. Saha collaborated with the Indian Health Service, Blackfeet Community College (BCC), and the Blackfeet Housing authority in this healthy homes capacity building project to address child asthma and indoor air quality.  The project began as bio-contaminant student research project supported through an outreach grant by UM-EPSCoR (  University of Montana and BCC students tested homes on the reservation for toxic mold and conducted (CBPR) approach, this project identified environmental health risks associated with reservation housing, developed capacity of the Tribe to conduct housing asessment "green cleaning" workshop were conducted in collaboration with Womens' Voices for the Earth and an EPA Montana Indian Country CARE.

Tribal Environmental Management

Dr. Saha is on the Core Planning Team implementing and evaluating an U.S. EPA grant to host the8th National Conference on Tribal Environmental Management (NCTEM) to be held in Billings, MT, in June 2008.  The planning involves outreach to tribal environmental managers, environmental professionals, activists, academics, and others. Dr. Saha also speaks and consults on a various tribal environmental issues throughout Montana.

Current & Recent Graduate Student Research

Tribal environmental justice and federal law; net metering policy in Montana; sustainability assessment for Paws Up!; improving Superfund public participation; dental mercury regulation in Missoula, MT; addressing contamination in traditional foods in Alaska; addressing non-compliance with federal asbestos building inspection requirements in Missoula, MT; achieving environmental justice for the community of Opportunity, MT; legislative hisotry and policy analysis of Montana's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) law, The Montana Renewable Power Production and Rural Economic Development Act; advancing environmental education at the U.S. EPA.



Field of Study

Environmental Justice; Environmental Health; Tribal Environmental Issues; Environmental Policy; Policy Analysis; Community Based Participatory Research; Municipal and Campus Sustainability; Climate and Energy Policy.   



Affiliated Faculty, University of Montana, School of Public and Community Health Sciences

UM Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy

UM Conflict Resolution Certificae Program

Joint Law/Environmental Studies (JD/MS) Program


Hiking, biking, gardening, yoga, cooking, and canoeing

Selected Publications

Mohai, Paul, and Robin Saha. 2015. "Which Came First, People Or Pollution? Assessing the Disparate Siting and Post-Siting Demographic Change Hypotheses of Environmental Injustice." Environmental Research Letters 10.11: 115008.


Mohai, Paul, and Robin Saha. 2015. "Which Came First, People Or Pollution? A Review of Theory and Evidence from Longitudinal Environmental Justice Studies." Environmental Research Letters 10.12: 125011.


Saha, Robin and Jennifer Hill-Hart. 2015. “Federal-Tribal Comanagement of the National Bison Range: The Challenge of Advancing Indigenous Rights Through Collaborative Natural Resource Management in Montana.” Pp. 143-188 in Mapping Indigenous Presence: North Scandinavian and North American Perspectives. Kathryn W. Shanley and Bjørg Evjen, eds. University of Arizona Press.


Christopher, S., Saha, R., Lachapelle, P., Jennings, D., Colclough, Y., Cooper, C., Cummins, C., Eggers, M., FourStar, K., Harris, K., Kuntz, S., LaFromboise, V., LaVeaux, D., McDonald, T. Real Bird, J., Rink, E., Webster, C. 2011. “Applying Indigenous CBPR Principles to Partnership Development in Health Disparities Research.” Family & Community Health 34(3): 246-255.



Saha, Robin, Kathryn Makarowski, Russ Van Paepeghem, Bethany Taylor, Michelle Lanzoni, Michael Lattanzio, and Owen Weber, 2010. Missoula Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Analysis, 2003-2008: Toward a Blueprint for Municipal Sustainability.  Missoula, MT.  Available at:


Saha, Robin and Paul Mohai. 2009.” Historical Context and Hazardous Waste Facility Siting: Understand Temporal Trends in Michigan.” Pp. 313-349 in Environmental Crime: A Reader. Rob White, ed. Portland, OR: Willan Publishing.


Saha, Robin. 2009. “Current Appraisal of Toxic Waste in the United States – 2007.” Pp. 237-260 in Urban Health: Readings in the Social, Built, and Physical Environments. H. Patricia Hynes and Russ Lopez, eds. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.


Bullard, Robert, Paul Mohai, Robin Saha, and Beverly Wright. 2007 [March].  Toxic Race and Waste at Twenty 1987-2007: Grassroots Struggles to Dismantle Environmental Racism in the United States. Cleveland, OH: United Church of Christ.  Available at:


Mohai, Paul and Robin Saha. 2007. “Racial Inequality in the Distribution of Hazardous Waste: A National-Level Reassessment.” Social Problems 54(3): 343-370.


Mohai, Paul and Robin Saha. 2006. "Reassessing Race and Socioeconomic Disparities in Environmental Justice Research." Demography 43(2): 383-389.


Saha, Robin. 2006. “Survey Results.”  Pp. 79-99 in Improving the State Superfund Process. Montana Environmental Quality Council HJR 34 Study Report [November].


Mohai, Robin and Robin Saha. 2005. “Reassessing Race and Class Disparities in the Distribution of Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Facilities. In Conference Proceedings: Waste - The Social Context.  Edmonton, Canada: University of Alberta, May 11-14.


Estrada, Torri, Karen DeGannes, and Robin Saha. 2001.  “POWER Against the PEOPLE? Moving Beyond Crisis Planning in California Energy.” San Francisco, CA: Latino Issues Forum.


Saha, Robin. 2001.  “An Analysis of Environmental Justice Concerns in Downwind Areas Near the Hamtramck Medical Waste Incinerator.” Report commissioned by the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition (MEJC), Hamtramck Environmental Action Team (HEAT), and Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS).


Saha, Robin and Paul Mohai. 1999 (May and October).  “Disparate Impact Analysis of Gilbraltar Wells #186 Deep Well Injection Site, Smith County, TX.” Report for counsel for Mothers Organized to Stop Environmental Sins (M.O.S.E.S.), Winona, TX, regarding U.S. EPA Title VI Civil Rights Complaint No. 03R-97-R9.


Saha, Robin. 1998. "Accessing and Using Demographic Data to Support Grassroots Environmental Justice Struggles." Detroit, MI: Environmental Justice Community Training Program the Maurice and Sugar Jane Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice.


Mohai, Paul and Robin Saha. 1997.  “Public Policy, Social Welfare, and the Incidence of Airborne Pollution in Genesee County Revisited: An Assessment of Methodological Rigor.” Exhibit to Circuit Court of the County of Genesee, Michigan, for NAACP and Flint-Genesee United for Action, Justice, and Environmental Safety vs. Governor John Engler and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.