African American, Latino, and Native American residents of Eastern North Carolina are anxiously awaiting help from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their decades-long struggle to resist the adverse impacts of confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) disproportionately concentrated in their communities. In September 2014, groups representing those residents, the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH) and the NC Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), joined with Waterkeeper Alliance in filing a complaint under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) with EPA’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The complaint alleges that DEQ’s permitting and oversight of swine CAFOs has a racially discriminatory impact on black, Latino and American Indian North Carolinians.
OCR began its investigation of the complaint in February 2015. This past October, 20 impacted residents traveled to Washington DC to deliver a petition signed by over 95,000 people from across the country urging EPA investigators to come to eastern North Carolina and see the impacts for themselves. The residents met with OCR and with staff of North Carolina legislators, told them about the unbearable stench and pollution from the open pits of hog waste and the fields where the waste is sprayed; the infestation of buzzards, flies and other disease vectors; and the broad range of other ways these operations damage their health and ruin their quality of life. In response, OCR investigators travelled to the state and observed firsthand the impacts on these communities in mid-November. Over the last two and a half years, the complainants, represented by the Center and Earthjustice, have provided OCR with reams of documents and data (including over a decade’s worth of scientific research led by recently deceased Dr. Steve Wing of UNC’s School of Public Health), as well as sworn declarations from many impacted residents, which support the complaint’s allegations.
The community members are pleading with EPA to make a finding of discrimination before the end of 2016.
Read More... (Communities Impacted by CAFOs Ask EPA to Make A Finding of Discrimination By Year’s End)
Posted by Elizabeth M. Haddix on Thu. December 1, 2016 12:40 PM
Categories: Environmental Justice, Race Discrimination
On October 21-22, environmental justice advocates, scientists and impacted community members from across the state gathered at the historic Franklinton Center at Bricks in Whitakers, NC for the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network’s (NCEJN) 18th annual Environmental Justice Summit. There were research presentations on lead poisoning prevention, coal ash and its impact on low-income communities, and anti-biotic resistant bacteria from industrial hog operations. A Government Listening Panel held on Friday afternoon was not attended by any representatives from NC’s Department of Environmental Quality. However, community members were able to directly plead with the EPA to enforce civil rights protections because Cynthia Peurifoy from EPA’s Region IV office in Atlanta, GA was on the panel. Friday evening featured a play based on oral histories collected from residents of West Badin, NC, “Race and Waste in an Aluminum Town,” documenting the disastrous human cost of working in and living near the Alcoa plant which officially closed in 2010. Members of the Concerned Citizens of the West Badin Community spoke after the play. The Center and its clients received special recognition on Saturday when the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (REACH) received NCEJN’s Community Resilience Award, and Center Staff Attorney Elizabeth Haddix received the Steve Wing International Environmental Justice Award.
Read More... (North Carolina Environmental Justice Network's 18th Annual Environmental Justice Summit)
Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Tue. October 25, 2016 9:10 AM
Categories: Environmental Justice, Race Discrimination
On September 10 and 11, 2016, Center staff attorney Elizabeth Haddix joined residents from Sampson, Duplin, Bladen and Pender counties who suffer the impacts from industrial pork and poultry operations concentrated in their communities at a national summit hosted by the Oneida Nation in Green Bay, WI entitled “Factory Farm Summit: Demanding Accountability in Agriculture.” The summit, which brought together farmers, residents, researchers and advocates from across the country, was organized by the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP), which works throughout the U.S. helping communities protect themselves from the negative impacts of factory farms, officially called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
Read More... (Center clients participate in Factory Farm Summit, Green Bay, WI)
Posted by Elizabeth M. Haddix on Fri. September 16, 2016 2:11 PM
Categories: Environmental Justice
In September 2014, the NC Environmental Justice Network (NCEJN), the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help (“REACH”) and the Waterkeepers Alliance filed a race discrimination administrative complaint () against the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Civil Rights. The EPA accepted jurisdiction () of the complaint in early February 2015. The complaint alleges that DENR’s general permit allows industrial swine facilities in North Carolina to operate with grossly inadequate and outdated systems of controlling animal waste and little provision for government oversight, which has an unjustified disproportionate impact on the basis of race and national origin against African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the EPA’s implementing regulations. The Center for Civil Rights is co-counseling with Earthjustice (New York) on the case.
Read More... (EPA Examines Swine Waste in Duplin County)
Posted by Elizabeth M. Haddix on Fri. September 11, 2015 3:22 PM
Categories: Environmental Justice
The UNC Center for Civil Rights continues its series of county level profiles on the legacy of racial
segregation, focusing this time on Moore
County (). Building on last year’s statewide State
of Exclusion report (), this series includes prior reports on Lenoir () and Davidson () counties; all are available at www.uncinclusionproject.org.
Profiles of additional counties will follow in the coming weeks, each
highlighting particular aspects of that county’s history, ongoing impacts of
exclusion, and progress toward full inclusion of all residents.
Moore County, in the
southern part of the Piedmont of North Carolina, is the center of the Sandhills
region, known today primarily for its luxurious golf resorts, especially
Pinehurst, home to this year’s U.S. Open Golf Tournament. Despite significant
strides, Moore County remains nearly as deeply divided as described by the New
York Times in 2005, the last time it hosted a U.S. Open. Most basic
amenities have been extended to the excluded communities nearest the wealthiest
golf resorts, but when looking at the county as a whole, racial and economic
segregation persists. This report focuses on the impact of racial segregation
on affordable housing, public education, environmental justice, and access to
municipal services. The UNC Center for
Civil Rights continues to represent several excluded communities in the
county; the history of the Center’s work there informs the report, but like
prior reports all conclusions are based upon publically available data.
Read More... (State of Exclusion: Profile on Moore County)
Posted by Peter Hull Gilbert on Fri. June 6, 2014 4:07 PM
Categories: Annexation, Community Inclusion, Education, Environmental Justice, Fair Housing, Moore County, Race Discrimination, Segregation, Voting Rights
This post was originally posted on the Progressive Pulse by Tazra Mitchell of the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center at the N.C. Justice Center on Thursday, February 28, 2014.
Imagine living in a community that includes the most undesirable and hazardous amenities a place has to offer such as a waste transfer station, a sewage treatment plant, and several landfills. Now, imagine being represented by county officials who decide to provide water and sewer services to an animal shelter but not to the residents—who happen to be more than three-quarters African American. And, these facilities primarily serve the majority-white residents in adjacent communities. Unfortunately, the residents of Royal Oak in Brunswick County don’t have to imagine this; they face this reality every day.
Read More... (Environmental injustice in NC extends its unhealthy reach across North Carolina, especially in African American communities)
Posted by Peter Hull Gilbert on Wed. March 5, 2014 3:22 PM
Categories: Brunswick County, Community Inclusion, Environmental Justice, Race Discrimination, Segregation