The report said, “Time and again…communities of color living in the shadows of sewage plants, incinerators, steel mills, landfills and other industrial facilities across the country—from Baton Rouge to Syracuse, Phoenix to Chapel Hill—have found their claims denied by the EPA’s civil-rights office.
In its 22-year history of processing environmental discrimination complaints, the office has never once made a formal finding of a Title VI violation.” That report was seconded by the U. Commission on Civil Rights in a September 2016 report that said, “EPA does not take action when faced with environmental justice concerns until when forced to do so.
The crisis began in April 2014, and was covered diligently by local press from the outset; Jackson details local reports of resident complaints, community meetings and protests.
The Environmental Protection Agency approved the site in 1979, granting waivers from certain groundwater and liner protections.
Angry residents hired a soil expert who said the groundwater would indeed be contaminated by the waste oil.
By any measure, its outcomes are pathetic when it comes to environmental justice.
In a joint statement, commissioners Michael Yaki, Roberta Achtenberg and David Kladney said, “This report, in the wake of the mass poisoning of residents in Flint, Michigan, is especially timely…EPA’s Office of Civil Rights has historically acted as a black box for complaints about discriminatory effects of toxic source locations.” The report was timely because it was in Flint that the EPA’s behavior backfired into the worst environmental justice disaster of the Obama era.
Jackson asks what catastrophes might have been averted had national media outlets stepped in sooner—and why it took so long for the Flint water crisis to become a story worthy of national attention.
He points to a lack of newsroom diversity, a history of national media paying little attention to environmental justice in communities of color, and the tendency to act only after harm has been verified by doctors and scientists—rather than in response to widespread citizen concern.EPA Administrator Gina Mc Carthy said in the executive summary that environmental justice was now “at the core of the EPA’s mission.” The mission is daunting.A 2014 report by the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform found that more than 134 million Americans live dangerously close to a toxic facility.essayist, and a climate and energy writer for the Union of Concerned Scientists, examines the failure of national media outlets to respond to the Flint water crisis in an urgent manner, as well as biases in coverage.In June 2017, five Michigan officials were charged with involuntary manslaughter for their role in the Flint water crisis—more than three years after residents had first noticed that something was wrong with their water.That began a legal resistance that led to a temporary halt to construction and a 1982 federal lawsuit filed by a county chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.