Over Three Dozen Environmental Justice Group Leaders Urge Congressman John Lewis to
Call for an Investigation of EPA Region 4
Atlanta, GA, October 16, 2009 – The U.S. EPA Region 4 has long been considered a problem region when it comes to equal enforcement and equal protection of environmental laws in low-income and people of color communities. With the election of President Barack Obama and the selection of Lisa_P.Jackson as head of the EPA, environmental justice communities around the country seem hopeful that fundamental change is coming. In the spirit of spurring on this needed change, more than three dozen environmental justice groups representing all eight states in EPA Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee) are urging longtime civil right leader Congressman John Lewis to call for a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigation of EPA Region 4 response to environmental justice, toxic contamination, and health threats in low-income and people of color communities.
The letter explains that in 1983, after protests and more than 500 arrests, over the disposal of contaminated soil in the Warren County PCB Landfill, District of Columbia Delegate Walter Fauntroy called for a General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation of Region 4 that resulted in a landmark report, Siting of Hazardous Waste Landfills and Their Correlation with Racial and Economic Status of Surrounding Communities. The report found clear bias with three-fourth of the hazardous waste facilities in the region located in majority African American communities. Twenty-seven years later, environmental justice leaders are asking Congressman Lewis to request a new GAO investigation. To view full text of letter click HERE.