Previous Environmental Justice News 2018

The Interior Department Is Sidelining Environmental Justice 11-13-18

In early September, DOI quietly rescinded two memos that provided guidance on protecting vulnerable communities and Native American sacred sites. In early September, DOI quietly rescinded two policy memos that provided specific guidance on how to implement principles of environmental justice. Read more at The Investigative Fund

A Just Recovery is the Only Way Forward in North Carolina 10-09-18

Thousands of families and communities in North Carolina are still reeling from the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Those hardest hit by the storm are dealing with threats to their immediate and long-term survival. As North Carolinians and co-conveners of the North Carolina Climate Justice Collective, we’ve been partnering with frontline communities across our state and know their leadership is key to ensuring that recovery moves beyond quick fixes and media sound bites. Read more at Climate Justice Alliance

Environmental Negligence vs. Civil Rights: Black and Hispanic Communities Get More Pollution, Fewer Jobs 10-02-18

One of President Donald Trump‘s stated justifications for rolling back environmental regulations has been to bring back jobs in highly-polluting industries like coal.

But a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of SciencesMonday found that, for “communities of racial/ethnic minorities,” welcoming polluting industries for the sake of employment is a tradeoff that doesn’t make any sense. Blacks and Hispanics in the U.S. are both less frequently employed at industrial facilities and more likely to be exposed to toxic air pollution from these sites. Read more at EcoWatch

‘A light waiting ahead’: Students displaced by Hurricane Harvey return to their schools, if not their homes 09-18-18

The smell of fresh paint lingers in the hallways of C.E. King Middle School. The floors are newly tiled. The choir room, which Hurricane Harvey’s floods turned into a four-foot-deep and moldy swimming pool a year ago, gleams with new carpeting. Read more at The Washington Post

How can we address the effects of climate change on communities of color? 08-13-18

Climate change is a massive, complex, globe-spanning issue that affects every facet of our lives. And like most problems at its scale, it’s bound to affect the poor and people of color most significantly. Read more at The Miami Herald

800 Miles with Bears Ears Prayer Runners 08-08-18

Amid a frenzied conversation over shrinking public lands, Native Americans run hundreds of miles to honor—and take back—the land that’s sacred to them

Everyone ran the final miles to Bears Ears National Monument together. It was a sunny, blue-sky day in March, and 45 pairs of feet shuffled down a road of soft red dirt, kicking up a dust cloud. Read more at Outside

Smithfield Foods Ordered To Pay Millions In Damages To Neighbors Of Hog Farms 08-04-18

The North Carolina farms “generate many times more sewage than entire towns.”A federal jury decided Friday that the world’s largest pork producer should pay $473.5 million to neighbors of three North Carolina industrial-scale hog farms for unreasonable nuisances they suffered from odors, flies and rumbling trucks. Read more at Huffington Post

Green Upgrade: How California Is Pioneering ‘Energy Justice’ 07-30-18

California has the world’s 4th largest greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, which raises billions of dollars for the state. Some of that revenue is being used to bringing renewable power and energy efficiency to some of the state’s most disadvantaged communities. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Being Black in America Can Be Hazardous to Your Health 07-10-18

In Baltimore and other segregated cities, the life-expectancy gap between African Americans and whites is as much as 20 years. One young woman’s struggle shows why.Read more at The Atlantic

Black Churches, Powerful Cultural Forces, Set Their Sights on Food Security 07-09-18

The Baltimore-based Black Church Food Security Network is building a community-centered food system to combat ‘food apartheid’ by connecting Black farmers with historically African-American churches. Read more at Civil Eats

What Fossil Fuels and Factory Farms Have in Common 05-30-18

Hint: They’re both issues of environmental injustice.

In 2008, Cabot Oil and Gas started fracking operations inDimock, Pennsylvania. It was around that time the community started noticing their water was turning brown and making people and animals sick. One woman’s water well exploded.Fracking had come to town. Read more at Yes! Magazine

North Carolina is launching an environmental justice advisory board 05-18-18

The state hopes to reckon with its long history of environmental injustices.

In 1973, the state of North Carolina made plans to dump 31,000 gallons of the highly-carcinogenic compound polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) in a landfill built in Shocco, a rural town in the northeastern part of the state. Read more at Think Progress

In The South, A New Environmental Movement Seeks To Put Justice First 05-11-18

“The voices of resistance of those most directly impacted are not always being heard.”

When Danna Smith spots an old, gnarled tree in the forest wetlands of the South, she sees a plant that gives life. But she says the wood pellet industry doesn’t see it that way and that for them these twisted trees are “waste wood” and fair game to harvest. Read more at Huffington Post

Giant Hog Farms Are Fighting for the Right to Keep Polluting. The Trump Administration Is on Their Side. 05-05-18

“This industry in particular has incredible influence over all levels of government.”

If you enjoy bacon or ham, chances are you’ve eaten pork from North Carolina, where about 16 million hogs—10 percent of the US total—are raised each year. The great bulk of that production takes place in a handful of counties on the state’s coastal plain. Read more at Mother Jones

Environmental justice groups reach settlement with DEQ over federal complaint, hog farms 05-03-18

The NC Department of Environmental Quality has settled a long-standing federal civil rights complaint that environmental and community groups had filed with the EPA.

The Waterkeeper Alliance, NC Environmental Justice Network and REACH (Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help) filed the complaint in September 2014, the complaint alleged that the state’s general permitting process for swine farms disproportionately burdens communities of color. Read more at NC Policy Watch

EPA Violated the Law by Failing to Investigate Civil Rights Complaints, Court Rules 04-03-18

A court ruled today that the Environmental Protection Agency violated its duty to respond to civil rights complaints in a timely way. The case involved five organizations that had waited years for the EPA to respond to complaints filed under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, creed, or color. Read more at The Intercept

Native American tribes come together to protect Bears Ears from Trump 03-23-18

This story was originally published by HuffPost and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Members of the Native American tribes that once came together to petition for the creation of Bears Ears National Monument gathered near the site Sunday to share stories about their connections to the sprawling landscape that the Trump administration recentlystripped of certain federal protections. Read more at Grist

Putting a Face on the Rural Fight Against Corporate Farms 03-20-18

The Western Organization of Resource Councils has been an unrelenting grassroots critic of Big Ag for decades. Now its members want to enlist urban eaters in the fight. Read more at Civil Eats

The Environmental and Human Cost of Making a Pair of Jeans 03-08-18

Americans do love their denim, so much so that the average consumer buys four pairs of jeans a year. In China’s Xintang province, a hub for denim, 300 million pairs are made annually. Just as staggering is the brew of toxic chemicals and hundreds of gallons of water it takes to dye and finish one pair of jeans. The resulting environmental damage to rivers, ecosystems and communities in China, Bangladesh and India is the subject of a new documentary called The RiverBlue: Can Fashion Save the Planet?. Read more at EcoWatch

Strike a Deal 03-05-18

The 48th lowest-earning teachers in the country are eight days into a strike that demands a 5 percent pay raise. They’re frustrated by rising health care costs and, y’know, working at Hardee’s on the weekends to make ends meet. Read more at Grist

Pollution, Race and the Search for Justice 03-05-18

African-Americans are more likely to live near landfills and industrial plants that pollute water and air and erode quality of life. Because of this, more than half of the 9 million people living near hazardous waste sites are people of color, and black Americans are three times more likely to die from exposure to air pollutants than their white counterparts. Read more at EcoWatch

Africatown, A Small Historically Black Town Fighting a Billion Dollar Company That’s Devastating Its Community with Toxic Waste 02-25-18

In the spring of 1860, a year before the Civil War, a wealthy Alabama shipbuilder and plantation owner named Timothy Meaher chose to toy with the escalating tensions between North and South by making a despicable wager. Read more at Atlanta Black Star

In 46 States, People Of Color Deal With More Air Pollution Than White People Do, Study Finds 02-22-18

The study adds to years of research suggesting that people of color encounter the most air pollution in the US, increasing their risk of asthma, heart disease, and other illnesses.

People of color face more air pollution than white people, and black people bear the biggest environmental burden of any group, according to a new study by EPA scientists. Read more at BuzzFeedNews

Remember the legacy of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Florida environmentalist 02-15-18

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, has thrust Douglas’ name into the headlines this week as the nation grapples with the tragic and violent deaths of 17 people. But the events now bearing her name are the antithesis of Douglas’ legacy of protecting the life and landscape of Florida. Read more at Grist