Environmental Justice, Denied

Source: Center for Public Integrity, 2015

The foisting of pollution on minority communities in America is racism, albeit a subtler type than has been in the news. With the launch of “Environmental Justice, Denied,” the Center for Public Integrity examines the siting of malodorous dumps and sewage plants near the homes of African-Americans, the spraying of toxic pesticides near schools attended by mostly Latino students, and other environmental problems that disproportionately affect communities of color. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Civil Rights is charged with investigating complaints of discrimination filed against state and local agencies that receive EPA funds and, upon unearthing evidence of injustice, making things right. But our investigation shows that the office has not made a formal finding of discrimination in 22 years, despite having received hundreds of complaints, some exhaustively documented. As one Louisiana resident told us, “All these complaints to EPA have gotten us nothing – zero.”