What Standing Rock Teaches Us About Environmental Racism And Justice

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By Ramon Jacobs-Shaw for Health Affairs Blog – Access to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water is not just a concern of developing countries but of communities in our own backyard. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North and South Dakota, for instance, relies on Lake Oahe, a 231-mile reservoir along the Missouri River, as its primary water source. In July 2016, the US Army Corps of Engineers approved the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a 1,172-mile duct that will carry crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois when completed, which will run underneath the Missouri River less than a mile north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, including through the tribe’s sacred, ancestral lands. Given concerns about having oil-related infrastructure near major water sources, especially after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 (the largest oil spill in US waters), members of the tribe have been vigorously defending their rights to safe, clean water. Their struggle has caught the attention of major advocacy organizations around the world and indigenous tribes in other nations. After a brief reprieve in December 2016 when the Obama administration blocked further construction of the DAPL…

Environmental Racism In The Post-Racial Era

Photograph: Charles O’Rear, Environmental Protection Agency

By Richard Raber for Daily Maverick – Videos depicting the senseless murders of unarmed people of colour have given birth to a new social movement, #BlackLivesMatter, while bringing to light a reality incomprehensible to white communities; the lives of people of colour have systemically been deemed disposable. To collectively realise the inherent value of black life we must think locally and globally, symbolically and institutionally. One realm to address these concerns in is that of environmental racism.

How Environmental Contamination Targets People Of Color

Chris Jordan-Bloch/Earthjustice

By Larry Buhl for Desmog – With about 42,000 active wells, Kern County, California is home to three-quarters of California’s oil drilling and 95 percent of the state’s hydraulic fracturing (fracking) activity. This mainly rural region is the largest oil-producing county in the U.S. The influence of oil and gas is so great here that in late 2015 the county board of supervisors approved a new ordinance to allow drilling permits for tens of thousands of new wells to be fast tracked.

Corporation Sues Poor, Black Community Fighting Environmental Racism

The Arrowhead landfill in Uniontown, Ala., has drawn complaints from residents since it opened in 2007, and more since it started accepting coal ash in 2008. Photo courtesy of Michael D. Smith

By Kendra Pierre-Louis for Inside Climate News – “My dream,” said Ben Eaton, one of the roughly 3,000 people who live in the working-class, mostly African-American hamlet of Uniontown, Alabama, “was to grow up, get married, build my own home, and just live life comfortably.” It all worked out—except for the comfort. That part of his dream, says Eaton, was buried by a landfill. His dream home is now less than three miles from the Arrowhead landfill, which has filled his life with noise, an acrid smell and now, a lawsuit that followed when he complained about it.

An Open Letter Demanding Respect And Solidarity

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By Staff of RAHC – You know us and you know our stories. You know our tragedies, our disasters, and our peril – Katrina, Rita, the BP oil disaster, oh, and that Shell oil spill just the other day. Not to mention, we’re losing a football field of wetlands an hour in Louisiana caused by the combined impact of oil and gas infrastructure and sea level rise due to climate change, eroding our first line of defense from increasingly strong storms. We are the frontline, grassroots communities of the Gulf Coast resisting the continued extraction of our land and our waters. And, we refuse to be a sacrifice zone for this country any longer.

Bridging The Trust Gap In Energy Justice Battles

Prince Georges County power plants

By Mark Hand for Counterpunch. A Prince George’s County, Md., community is more than two-thirds African American, but the coalition of residents rallying against the construction of new power plants in the area is more than two-thirds white. Mike Ewall, founder and director of the Energy Justice Network, a national support group for grassroots community groups fighting polluting energy plants, cites a phenomenon he calls “involvement disparity” for the dominance of whites in certain civic matters. In communities across the United States, white residents, perhaps due to racism, often are the first people notified about potentially controversial projects, leading to them becoming involved in the battles earlier than people of color. Black residents also are resisting the Prince George’s County plants, “so it’s not an all-white group by any means,” Ewall stressed. “But it is more white people than you would expect given the demographics of the area.”

Newsletter - End The Political Charade

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. This week, on Earth Day, representatives from 130 countries gathered at the United Nations in New York City to sign the climate treaty agreed upon in Paris last December. As they smiled for the camera and promised to do their best to hold the temperature down, climate activists posted an open letter stating that it is too late, the climate emergency is already here. Leading up to the signing of the Paris Treaty this week were actions to stop the advance of fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Many events to mark the one year anniversary are taking place this week and the next in Baltimore to remember the uprising. Erica Chenoweth, the author of “How Civil Resistance Works”, writes that elections both locally and globally are being shaped by nonviolent resistance. In the US, no matter who is elected president in the November election, it will be critical for those who have been activated to continue to organize and visibly protest.

Algonquin Pipeline Endangers Communities Of Color

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By Linda Snider for Black Westchester. Westchester, NY – In November, 2015, tree cutters and huge flatbed trucks began rolling through northern Westchester communities—Peekskill, Montrose, Cortlandt. These communities were soon to be changed—and not for the better. The tree cutters are contracted by Spectra Energy, a billion-dollar Texas-based pipeline company. Their mission: to clear ground for the Algonquin Incremental Market Pipeline (AIM), a project that would expand a pipeline carrying fracked gas from Pennsylvania through northern Westchester and on to Boston. One of the numerous problems: this huge pipeline will carry methane (“natural gas”) within a few hundred feet of the Indian Point nuclear facility.

Newsletter - Celebrate Black Power

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. This month is Black History Month, first celebrated as Black History Week in 1926 as a result of the efforts of African-American historian, Carter Godwin Woodson. Goodwin picked a week in February because both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas were born on February 12 and 14, even though he believed that people needed to be educated about the multitude of African Americans who have contributed to history, as change comes from the bottom up. In recent years black history is being made by multitudes of people. Under the umbrella of Black Lives Matter multiple organizations have been created across the country and tens of thousands of people have taken action. Black history is alive as history is being created in our times. Let’s celebrate it together.

Residents Of South Baltimore To Sue Over Incinerator

United Workers protest for Fair Development

By United Workers. Residents of South Baltimore filed a notice of intent to sue a New York-based developer over plans to build what would be the largest trash-burning incinerator in the U.S. Many residents of the Curtis Bay, Brooklyn, and Brooklyn Park neighborhoods closest to the incinerator site – including a student-led organization called Free Your Voice – are fighting the proposed 4,000-ton-per-day trash burning incinerator because of the air pollution that it would add to a neighborhood already suffering from toxic air emissions. “The incinerator would add more brain damaging lead and mercury to my community which is already the most polluted in the state,” said Destiny Watford, Curtis Bay resident and leader with Free Your Voice. “This would violate our basic human right to live in a healthy community.”

People Of Color & Poor More Likely To Live Near Chemical Hazard

Black children playing

By Amanda Starbuck for Center for Effective Government. The Center for Effective Government released a new report and interactive map to coincide with the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. The report demonstrates that the struggle for social justice is far from over. Across the country people of color and the poor are disproportionately impacted by chemical facility hazards, and in many areas, the amount of inequality is profound. We mapped all 12,000+ facilities reporting to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Risk Management Program (RMP). These facilities use large enough amounts of extremely hazardous chemicals that they must submit risk and response plans to the EPA. Communities near these facilities face the greatest danger from a toxic chemical release or explosion and are often exposed to toxic emissions on a daily basis. We compared the demographics of people living within one mile of these dangerous facilities to the rest of the population. The results are stark.

Newsletter - Chipping Away At The System

Doing Nother, Saying Nothing, Changes Nothing Oct 24, 2015 NYC By Ted Alexandro

By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance – The weekly newsletter: The forces that work to maintain the status quo, to protect the oppressors and the profiteers, are powerful, but everywhere there are people chipping away at the pillars that prop up the current systems, exposing truths and forcing changes. This week, we highlight some of these struggles with the hope that we will learn from them. Issues covered include (1) The tide is shifting on mass incarceration; (2) Fighting back when public services under attack; (3) The climate crisis will not be solved by corporate lobbyists and (3) New Video Tools: Acronym TV, Empire Files and Act Out! It is essential that we use the tools we have – our own media, the legal system and organized and mobilized resistance – to continue to expose truth, fight injustice and create new systems that build the world we need. Together, can build a powerful force.

Newsletter - Black August, End Neo-Slavery, Resist

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By Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese for Popular Resistance – Black August is coming to an end as we commemorate the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. As many head back to school, a full season of actions are being planned for the fall to stop the corporate takeover of our communities and world and the push toward neo-slavery. There is a lot of resistance going on. We hope that you have an opportunity this summer to relax and build up your energy for the many actions that are being planned for the fall. If you go to a park, there is one more thing you can do: take a moment to think about the people who inhabited the land before it became a park.

Gulf South Rising Remembers Katrina, Builds Campaign

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By Staff for Popular Resistance – Gulf South Rising (GSR) is a coordinated regional movement created to highlight the impact of the global climate crisis on the Gulf South region (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida). Through collaborative actions and events around strategic dates in 2015, like the 5-year commemoration of the BP Oil Crisis and the 10-year commemoration of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, GSR demands a just transition away from extractive industries, discriminatory policies, and unjust practices that hinder equitable disaster recovery and impede the development of sustainable communities. Gulf South Rising recognizes the roots of the environmental and climate crisis, it “acknowledges that the global climate crisis is rooted in economic theories that promote mass consumption of limited resources, laws that maintain inequity, and social hierarchies and governance processes that limit civic participation.”

There Are 45 Fracked Wells Within 2 miles Of My Daughter's School

Fracking near a school playground. Credit Brooke Anderson for Fractracker.org.

By Rodrigo Romo for the Guardian – Earlier this summer, two weeks after California’s first-ever hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, regulations went into effect, my family filed a lawsuit against Governor Jerry Brown and California Oil and Gas Supervisor Steve Bohlen. We are challenging the regulations for illegally discriminating against students of color by permitting wells that are disproportionately close to the schools they attend. There are 45 fracked wells within a mile and a half of my daughter’s junior high school. At Sequoia Elementary School, which she attended for years, there are three separate fracked wells within a half-mile of the school, and one that is just 1,200 feet from the school. Shortly after fracking began near her school, my youngest daughter began to suffer from unexplainable epileptic attacks.