In 2016, we have an opportunity to commemorate and celebrate some important environmental justice milestones and work on finishing other struggles. The Flint water crisis unfolding today provides a textbook case for why we must build justice and equal protection into environmental decision making. It’s time to stand with communities endangered by environmental injustice and the principle of profit over people. Let’s make 2016 the year of justice.
“Dumping in Dixie,” the first book to chronicle environmental justice struggles in the United States, turns 25. Although the book dealt with black communities in the South fighting against the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, residential apartheid and environmental racism, over the last quarter century “Dumping in Dixie” environmental justice framing has translated to larger race and class struggles in the United States and around the world.
The U.S. EPA held a public hearing in Region 6 to get comments on its new proposed updates to emissions standards for refineries and impact on fenceline communities. The hearing was held in Galena Park, Texas, a refinery community located just east of Houston.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 will conduct an Environmental Justice Training Workshop in Houston on August 6-8 for local leaders in the Houston Metro region. The three-day workshop is co-sponsored by Houston-based Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Service (T.E.J.A.S.) and the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University.
Because of growing concern about emissions from refineries and the potential health impact on nearby “fenceline” community residents, the EPA is holding a series of public hearings around the country. It will hold a hearing on Tuesday August 5 in Houston on the Proposed Petroleum Refinery Sector Risk and Technology Review and New Source Performance Standards.
The Board of Directors of the National Sierra Club announced on Tuesday July 29 it had created the Dr. Robert Bullard Environmental Justice Award to be given annually to an individual or group that has done outstanding work in the area of environmental justice.
Houston will be hosting three important environmental justice events during the first week of August. All of the meetings will address the disproportionate location of industrial polluting facilities and toxic dumping on low-income and people of color communities and the potential health effects. The Houston “petropolis” (with its no-zoning policy) provides a perfect case study for examining how environmental decision making over the years—with the absence of an equity and justice lens—placed low-wealth and people of color neighborhoods on the frontline of environmental assault and thus exposed them to elevated health risks. The Environmental Justice Movement has set a course to reverse and correct these past mistakes and prevent them from happening in the future.
In writing a couple of articles and a report for Black History Month and the 20-year commemoration of the Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898, I had an opportunity to read a lot of papers, reports and articles. Here are my “Top 10” picks that deal with environment, health and social inequality.
It has now been twenty years since President Bill Clinton signed the Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898, “Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations.” The Executive Order has survived three presidents. Although it has never been fully implemented, there are some positive signs at the executive level that environmental justice is back on the federal radar.
This Tuesday February 11 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898 signed by President Bill Clinton. Environmental justice leaders from all across the country will commemorate the historic signing of the Executive Order with mixed emotions. A team of researcher at Texas Southern University will release a new report, “Environmental Justice Timeline and Milestones, 1964-2014,” that tracks the Environmental Justice Movement over the past five decades, beginning with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The vast majority of environmental justice leaders two decades ago preferred to have environmental justice codified in law. However, that did not happen. They recognize the Environmental Justice Movement did not start with the Executive Order nor was it driven by government action. The 20-year commemoration is a time for grassroots-led movement leaders to reflect on how far they have come and where they are going.