Minneapolis, MN — On January 11, 2024, community members gathered to discuss the future of the Smith Foundry in Minneapolis’ East Phillips neighborhood. The iron-casting facility has been found to violate health regulations, thereby likely threatening the well-being of people living nearby. In November, residents had called for the closure of the foundry after discovering records from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicating that the company had been exceeding Minnesota emission limits of particulate matter since 2018 — without notifying the state. Despite the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) pledging to meet regularly with the community, MPCA authorities were absent from the meeting, citing a “conflict of interest” and a lack of staff.
Englewood Chicago — Deborah Payne’s neighborhood of 35 years on Chicago’s South Side no longer exists. Dirt piles tower where families once gathered for Sunday dinners in single- and multifamily homes. Concrete lots cover backyards where children watched fireworks and caught lightning bugs. Streets that maintained generations of Black Chicago razed and left empty for railway cars. Today, less than 10 blocks from Payne’s old neighborhood, sits the repercussions of diesel pollution caused by the expansion of a railyard. Over a decade ago, the city, along with railroad giant Norfolk Southern, announced a plan to buy out Payne’s 12-block community of more than 200 households to replace it with the freight yard.
Earlier this month, the South River Watershed Alliance (SRWA) filed a civil rights complaint against the city of Atlanta, saying the rapid construction of a police training facility, locally known as Cop City, has caused environmental destruction to the surrounding community. The SRWA filed the complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and says the project’s location constitutes environmental racism. The facility’s construction is planned for a predominantly Black residential area, despite the investors and organizers of the project hailing from mostly white residential areas, and a proposed 43% of police trainees at the facility are expected to come from outside of the state of Georgia.
Baltimore, Maryland - South Baltimore is on a peninsula surrounded by water, highways and train tracks. It's mostly made up of residential row houses, small yards, schools, rec centers and parks. It's also often thought of as a place to avoid — folks are taught to be careful of or even avoid South Baltimore. There was a mass shooting this past July in the Brooklyn neighborhood of South Baltimore, and another in early September. "People think Curtis Bay is a dangerous place. It's not. It's just we're surrounded by dangerous things," says Taysia Thompson, 17. Taysia is a part of a group of student activists fighting against a very different kind of danger in their neighborhood: air pollution and climate change.
When you Google, “America’s love affair with…” the first word the algorithm fills in is “the automobile.” The third is “cars.” (The second is, surprise, surprise, guns.) In the U.S. — and increasingly in other parts of the world too — cars and driving have a significant impact on our daily lives. They determine the use of our streets, shape the design of our cities and suburbs, define coming of age for many young people, and affect the quality of the air we breathe. From anthropomorphized vehicles like Herbie: The Love Bug and the cars of Cars, to road trip epics like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Thelma & Louise to bangers like “Fast Car” and “Route 66,” automotive travel has had an outsized impact on our imaginations.
In a major victory for the people of south Memphis, a plant that uses carcinogenic ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment announced this fall that it is shutting down. The decision by Sterilization Services of Tennessee follows more than a year of dogged organizing by residents and activists fed up with the industrial pollution that the company, and more than 20 others, releases into their community. Ethylene oxide, an odorless and colorless gas, has been linked to multiple forms of cancer. “We’re relieved that the community will soon have one less polluting facility that they have to contend with,” Amanda Garcia, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, told Grist.
Indianapolis proudly claims Elvis’ last concert, Robert Kennedy’s speech in response to Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, and the Indianapolis 500. There’s a 9/11 memorial, a Medal of Honor Memorial and a statue of former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning. What few locals know, let alone tourists, is that the city also houses one of the largest dry cleaning Superfund sites in the U.S. From 1952 to 2008, Tuchman Cleaners laundered clothes using perchloroethylene, or PERC, a neurotoxin and possible carcinogen. Tuchman operated a chain of cleaners throughout the city, which sent clothes to a facility on Keystone Avenue for cleaning.
The government of Japan will start releasing wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power plant on Thursday, 24 August 2023. This wastewater has tritium which contains radioactive substances. WILPF is strongly opposed to this and considers this release of radioactive materials as an act of harm that could further contaminate the environment, and adversely impact the people and marine life in and around the Pacific nations. WILPF is a feminist peacebuilding organisation, we believe that environmental justice is one of the key pathways to peace and a just world. We must act now to protect the environment and people who share the Pacific Ocean. Read our open letter below and share as widely as possible. This is the time to act.
Canada recently took its first bold step to regulate the production and use of a large group of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, a family of environmentally persistent and toxic chemical compounds. These chemicals are found in food packaging, waterproof cosmetics, non-stick pans, stain- and water-resistant fabrics and carpeting, cleaning products, paints and firefighting foams. The Canadian government released a report detailing the risks of PFAS exposure and potential management options. This report, which advocates for the regulation of the thousands of PFAS as a whole, will directly influence future regulations and policies surrounding their production and use.
BlackRock security guards and NYPD officers "brutalized" climate campaigners this morning, according to organizers, after activists succeeded in shuttering the entrance to the headquarters of the world's largest fossil fuel investor for three hours. Alice Hu, the senior climate campaigner for New York Communities for Change (NYCC), told Common Dreams that 11 out of 75 activists were arrested after storming the building with pitchforks and pouring fake oil to demand that the asset-management firm stop investing in fossil fuels. The advocacy group posted several videos on Twitter of first BlackRock security and then police officers "roughing up" the activists, including one elderly protester who they say was manhandled by police.
Deutsche Bank and other German lenders have poured finance into gas export terminals on the U.S. Gulf Coast since Russia invaded Ukraine, a report has found, sparking anger among residents who say the megaprojects are devastating their communities. German banks lent 2.17 billion euros to U.S. gas export projects since the beginning of 2022, a sharp increase on the 1.86 billion euros in loans made during the 10 preceding years combined, according to underlying data used to produce the report by environmental groups Urgewald, Environmental Action Germany (DUH) and Andy Gheorghiu Consulting. The banks also underwrote 610 million euros of bonds for the projects from 2012-2021, the data showed.
By America’s waterways need help. Threats such as industrial pollution, poorly planned development, and climate change are widespread. In some cases, help could be imminent—but only with support from the public and lawmakers, according to a report out today from the conservation group American Rivers. The report, called America’s Most Endangered Rivers, has been produced annually since 1984. Each report describes 10 threatened rivers, each facing an upcoming decision with the potential for public influence, such as whether to remove a dam or compel polluters to clean up waste. “I like the focus on action,” said hydrologist Reed Maxwell from Princeton University.
Timothea is a long-time resident of East Palestine, Ohio and a victim of the Norfolk Southern train derailment. The train transporting toxic chemicals was 150 cars-long, 20-25% longer than the average length of trains in 2017, and it was operated by three conductors, with only 4 paid sick days each– just half of the national average. Of course, the release of 100,000 gallons of chemicals into a town only 3 square miles in size might have been avoided had our so-called “socialist” leaders fought for the rights of the railroad workers to secure a more favorable contract that was already years overdue. Now, Timothea and her community are stuck with the consequences.
In the wake of the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment, Governor Mike DeWine called on Congress to look into why the rural village didn’t know ahead of time they had volatile chemicals coming through town. “We should know when we have trains carrying hazardous materials through the state of Ohio,” DeWine said at a press conference. This information is out there, but it’s probably not what the governor had in mind. With the derailment of the Norfolk Southern train receiving international attention, more railroad communities are now asking what is traveling through their backyard.
East Palestine, OH - It has been three weeks since the tragic train wreck that devastated this small town. Despite the initial lack of attention it received, politicians and bureaucrats have finally become aware of the tragedy. Railroad Workers United (RWU) urges everyone concerned not to be distracted by rhetoric, hyperbole, promises, and lies but instead to focus on the primary reasons for the derailment and take immediate action to prevent future disasters. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Preliminary Report released on February 23rd clearly stated that "This was 100% preventable..