The science of environmental justice is founded on understanding different types of disparities- particularly exposure and risk disparities for different groups
including transportation infrastructure, housing, food resource environment, crime and safety, noxious land uses, and
You need an expert, but the EPA is developing tools such as C-FERST and CCAT that I will discuss later.
Benning Power Plant, one of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest power plants, burnt coal until switching to fuel oil in 1976. The toxic pollution generated by the power plant when it operated as either a coal or fuel powered plant includes benzene, toluene, dioxins, furans, lead, arsenic, mercury, nickel, vanadium, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and radioactive materials such as radium and uranium. The Pepco Benning Road facility is located at 3400 Benning Road NE, Washington, D.C. The 77-acre Site is bordered by the District Department of Public Works (DPW) Solid Waste Transfer Station to the north, Kenilworth Maintenance Yard (owned by the National Park Service, NPS) to the northwest, the Anacostia River to the west, Benning Road to the south and residential areas to the east and south (across Benning Rd.)
This is how we do in public health and there may be some ways to you can do it in DOJ
CCW Conference Environment Justice
Environmental Justice, HealthDisparities, and the ChesapeakeBay WatershedDr. Sacoby WilsonMaryland Institute for Applied Environmental HealthSchool of Public HealthUniversity of Maryland-College ParkJune 4, 2013
• “For many of us, water simply flows from afaucet, and we think little about it beyondthis point of contact. We have lost a senseof respect for the wild river, for thecomplex workings of a wetland, for theintricate web of life that water supports.” –Sandra Postel, Director and Founder ofthe Global Water Project
What is EnvironmentalJustice?• Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sanitation WorkersStrike in Memphis (1968)• Landfill issues in Houston, TX (1970s)• PCB Landfill in Warren County, NC (1982)
EJ Definitions• Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningfulinvolvement of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, culture,income or education level with respect to the development,implementation and enforcement of environmental laws,regulations, and policies• Environmental Justice is served when people can realize theirhighest potential, without experiencing the isms. EJ issupported by decent paying and safe jobs, quality schools andrecreation, decent housing and adequate health care,democratic decision-making and personal empowerment; andcommunities free of violence, drugs and poverty. These arecommunities where both cultural and biological diversity arerespected and highly revered and where distributive justiceprevails
Environmental Justice Stool• Environmental Justice Framework is a Three-Legged Stool– Leg 1: Differential Burden and Exposure toEnvironmental Hazards and LULUs (chemical plants,TRI facilities, incinerators, brownfields, heavily-trafficked roadways, industrial zoning, goods movementactivities, landfills, depots, etc)– Leg 2: High Concentration of Psychosocial Stressors(Crime, Violence, Poverty, isms, social disorder)– Leg 3: Lack of access to high quality health-promotinginfrastructure (supermarkets, banks, schools, basicamenities, housing, parks/green space, economicopportunity structures)
Toxic Wastes and RaceReport• The publication in 1987 of the United Church of Christ(UCC) Report, Toxic Wastes and Race in the UnitedStates led to an increase in public awareness aboutdisproportionate environmental burdens in people ofcolor communities and further fueled the growingenvironmental justice movement.• The report was significant because it found race to bethe most potent variable in predicting wherecommercial hazardous waste facilities were located inthe US, more powerful than household income, thevalue of homes, and the estimated amount ofhazardous waste generated by industry.
17 Principles of EnvironmentalJustice1) Environmental Justice affirms the sacredness of Mother Earth, ecologicalunity and the interdependence of all species, and the right to be free fromecological destruction.2) Environmental Justice demands that public policy be based on mutualrespect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias.3) Environmental Justice mandates the right to ethical, balanced andresponsible uses of land and renewable resources in the interest of asustainable planet for humans and other living things.5) Environmental Justice affirms the fundamental right to political, economic,cultural and environmental self-determination of all peoples.6) Environmental Justice demands the cessation of the production of all toxins,hazardous wastes, and radioactive materials, and that all past and currentproducers be held strictly accountable to the people for detoxification and thecontainment at the point of production.
17 Principles ofEnvironmental Justice7) Environmental Justice demands the right to participate as equal partners at everylevel of decision-making, including needs assessment, planning, implementation,enforcement and evaluation.being forced to choose between an unsafe livelihood and unemployment. It alsoaffirms the right of those who work at home to be free from environmental hazards.9) Environmental Justice protects the right of victims of environmental injustice toreceive full compensation and reparations for damages as well as quality healthcare.10) Environmental Justice considers governmental acts of environmental injustice aviolation of international law, the Universal Declaration On Human Rights, and theUnited Nations Convention on Genocide.12) Environmental Justice affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies toclean up and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature, honoring thecultural integrity of all our communities, and provided fair access for all to the fullrange of resources.
Pioneers of EnvironmentalJusticeDamu Smith (1952-2006)• an D.C. peace activist who foughtchemical pollution on the LouisianaGulf Coast in the 1990s• Instrumental in forming the NationalBlack Environmental Justice Network(NBEJN), the first ever nationalnetwork of Black environmental justiceactivistsProfessor Wangari Maathai• The first Kenyan woman toreceive a Ph.D. in biologicalsciences from the University ofNairobi• The first African woman to winthe Nobel Peace Prize.• Founded the Green BeltMovement which hasmobilized poor women to plantsome 30 million trees
• When resources are degraded, we start competing forthem, whether it is at the local level in Kenya, where wehad tribal clashes over land and water, or at the globallevel, where we are fighting over water, oil, and minerals.So one way to promote peace is to promote sustainablemanagement and equitable distribution of resources.• For me, one of the major reasons to move beyond justthe planting of trees was that I have tendency to look atthe causes of a problem. We often preoccupy ourselveswith the symptoms, whereas if we went to the root causeof the problems, we would be able to overcome theproblems once and for all.– Wangara Maathai
Pioneers of EnvironmentalJusticeDr. Robert Bullard• Director of the EnvironmentalJustice Resource Center at ClarkAtlanta University• Wrote Dumping in Dixie, which iswidely regarded as the first book toarticulate environmental justice• Helped Clinton administration draftan executive order to requirefederal agencies to considerenvironmental justice in theirprogramsHazel Johnson• Founded People for CommunityRecovery (PCR) in 1982 on theSouthside of Chicago, one of theoldest African American grassrootscommunity-based environmentalorganizations in the Midwest.• Tagged the "Mother of theEnvironmental Justice Movement"at the First National People ofColor Environmental LeadershipSummit held in Washington, DC.
• "One of the key components inenvironmental justice is getting people tothe table to speak for themselves ... theyneed to be in the room where policy isbeing made."• "There is no level playing field. Any timeour society says that a powerful chemicalcompany has the same right as a lowincome family thats living next door, thatplaying field is not level, is not fair."– Robert Bullard
Health Disparities• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) states that : “Health disparities are differencesin the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden ofcancer and related adverse health conditions thatexist among specific population groups in the UnitedStates”• These population groups may be characterized bygender, age, ethnicity, education, income, socialclass, disability, geographic location, or sexualorientation
• This EJ literature andecological frameworkfocuses on aspects of thebuilt environment andspatial processes whichcreate unhealthycommunity ecosystemsknown as “riskscapes”(Morello-Frosch and Lopez2006)• Populations who live in orare exposed to“riskscapes” experienceenvironmental healthdisparities (Gee and Payne-
Cumulative ExposureAssessment• Cumulative exposure assessment is a predictivescience for assessing health risk• Cumulative exposure research has three basic goalsrelated to providing a predictive science forassessing health risk– The first is the assessment of absorption, distribution,metabolism, and elimination (ADME) of chemicalexposures– The second is retrospective exposure reconstructionfrom biomarker measurements– The third is determination of preclinical (or early health)effects
Cumulative Risk Assessment• Cumulative risk assessment means “an analysis, characterization, andpossible quantification of the combined risks to health or theenvironment from multiple agents or stressors”– Multiple stressors (chemical, physical, biological, social)– Multiple media– Multiple exposure pathways• One key aspect of this definition is that a cumulative risk assessmentneed not necessarily be quantitative, so long as it meets the otherrequirements• Another key aspect is it allows you to take into account underlyingvulnerabilities (social, economic, geographic, biological)• The National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (NEJAC)emphasizes the importance of community engagement and the use ofcollaborative problem-solving as part of the cumulative risk assessmentapproach
Environmental Injustice andSuperfund Sites in MD
Environmental Justice andStormwater Issues in Baltimore•Increased stormwater volume can cause flooding,scouring, and sewer overflows•Stormwater pollutants-Cause beach closures and swimming illnesses throughbacterial contamination•Include trash in the Baltimore Harbor•Impact fisheries through excess:•Sedimimentation (smothering fish eggs)•Nutrients (reducing available dissolved oxygen)•Metals (pose health risk to individuals who eat fish)•Temperature (affects cold water fish and other biota)•Stormwater pollutants can also increase the cost of treatingdrinking water supplies
Baltimore’s Stormwater Problems• Baltimore’s harbor and rivers are impaired bya variety of pollutants from many sourcesincluding stormwater• Patapsco River Lower North Branch isimpaired by phosphorus, sediment, PCBs, andfecal bacteria• Johns Fall watershed is impaired by sediment• Baltimore harbor is impaired by trash, PCBs,and nutrients• Baltimore City’s impervious cover = 45.1%
Baltimore Watershed Agreement Phase I ActionMapping Environmental Justice and Water Quality in Baltimore County
Community-Based GreenInfrastructure• Engage local residents in green, stormwater management• Use innovative approaches that manage stormwater the way MotherNature would do it: Where it Falls; plants and soils• Approaches include:– Bioinfiltration– Vegetated Swales– Parking Lot Infiltration Areas– Rain Gardens– Curb Extensions– Planters– Permeable and Porous Pavements– Green Roofs– Green Walls– Pocket Wetlands– Vegetated Buffers and Landscaping– Rain water harvesting
Community-Based GreenInfrastructure Benefits• Community Empowerment• Increased Environmental Literacy• STEM exposure and education for youth• Cleaner water• Stable hydrology/baseflow maintenance• Reduced flooding• Climate change mitigation and adaptation• Cleaner Air• Reduced urban temperatures• Jobs creation• Water supply• Energy savings• Cost savings• Habitation protection• Community benefits– Healthier Community Ecosystems– Public Health Improvements– Recreational Infrastructure
Year Toxic Air EmissionsRank Percentile Pounds2005 7 99.93% 13,736,6942006 9 99.91% 11,939,9432007 1 99.99% 20,670,0262008 1 99.99% 21,650,0202009 2 99.98% 13,798,6942010 75 98.96% 2,205,2602011 73 99.00% 2,084,433Toxic Air Emissions Reported to the Toxics Release Inventory in21226 Relative to Other Zip Codes in the U.S.Rank is out of 8,949 zip codes in the U.S. (not counting territories)
Energy Answers Incinerator• Energy Answers is in the process of securing construction permits for awaste-to-energy power plant in Curtis Bay, a community in Baltimore thatalready ranks near the bottom for air quality in the state• Incinerators release a wide variety of hazardous and toxic air pollutantsincluding mercury, particulate matter, and PAHs• The health of residents particularly women and children will be at risk fromair and water pollution from this plant• This facility will add to environmental injustice, cumulative impacts, andenvironmental health disparities in the community and region that hasnegative implications for environmental quality• WHY PERMIT ANOTHER LULU IN THIS COMMUNITY?
Pollution in the Anacostia River• “Two billion gallons ofuntreated sewage mixedwith stormwater dumpsinto the Anacostia Riverin the average year”– 70,000 tons of trash,toxic pollution, andsediment• Each section of the riveronly meets, or attains,Water Quality Standards65% of the time onaverage
Pollution in the Anacostia River• “Two billion gallons ofuntreated sewage mixedwith stormwater dumps intothe Anacostia River in theaverage year”– 70,000 tons of trash, toxicpollution, and sediment• Each section of the riveronly meets, or attains,Water Quality Standards65% of the time on average
Anacostia Contamination• Metals– Arsenic and mercury (MeHg)• Organic Chemicals– PCBs and PAHs• Pathogens– Bacteria and viruses• Total Suspended Solids (Sediments)• Oil and Grease
The PEPCO Consent Decree• DDOE citied PEPCO with PCB releases intothe Anacostia river 6 times between 1995 and2005• Residents in surrounding communities havecomplained for years of poor air and waterquality and flooding in their basement• In Dec 2010 PEPCO was ordered by theDistrict Court to clean up their site, citingviolations of RCRA• A Consent Decree was executed in Feb 2011,and after public comments were received, aRevised Consent Decree was then entered bythe District Court on Dec 1, 2011.• DDOE was instructed to oversee the cleanupprocess
Survey of Local Residents-Results• All knew that Pepco had either stopped producingelectricity at Benning Road, or heard of the plans to doso.• The plant has been polluting their neighborhood forvery long time. This is not the first time that peoplehave heard that things will be changed• Expressed concern that PEPCO is not sampling intheir neighborhoods• Expressed concern that the Consent Decree does notaddress health of residents who may have beenaffected by emissions• There is uncertainty as to what will happen at the siteafter the sampling process is over –Pepco has notindicated what their future plans for the site are.
Anacostia Riverkeepers andPartners Survey• Anacostia Riverkeeper,Anacostia WatershedSociety, U.S. Department ofthe Interior, NationalOceanic and AtmosphericAdministration,OpinionWorks, the DistrictDepartment of theEnvironment, and severalother institutions partneredto assess angler behaviorand fish consumption in theAnacostia Watershed for thepast year.
Widespread consumption andsharing of fish• 75 % of anglers are consuming or sharing Anacostia fish.• 21% anglers eat or share “everything” they catch. That number rises to 39%when including those who eat or share “most” of what they catch. Another35% are eating or sharing “some” of their catch, leaving only 25% who is noteating anything that they catch from the Anacostia.• 35% of the anglers who eat or share their fish are doing so at least once aweek. 7% are eating the fish “every day.”• Further, there is evidence of sharing with high-risk groups: 12% ofAnacostia River anglers said that children are eating their catch, and 11%are sharing with wives or girlfriends (some of whom may be or becomepregnant).• Nearly half (46%) of all anglers interviewed in the riverbank survey said theyare sharing their catch with people beyond their families.
Environmental Justice, Fish, andRisk• Communities of color, low-incomecommunities, tribes, and other indigenouspeoples depend on healthy aquaticecosystems and the fish, aquatic plants, andwildlife that these ecosystems support• While, there are important differences amongthese groups, members of these groupsdepend on fish, aquatic plants, and wildlife toa greater extent and in different ways that dothe general populationNEJAC Report on Fish Consumption and Environmental Justice 2001
Environmental Justice, Fish, andRisk• Horace Axtell, Nez Perce, explains: According to our religion,everything is based on nature. Anything that grows or lives, likeplants and animals, is part of our religion. The most importantelement we have in our religion is water. At all of the Nez Perceceremonial feasts the people drink water before and after they eat.The water is a purification of our bodies before we accept the giftsfrom the Creator. After the feast we drink water to purify all the foodwe have consumed. The next most important element in our religionis the fish because fish comes from water. It doesn’t matter whatkind of fish… That’s how we honor the food we eat, especially thefish, because it is the next element after the water. The chinooksalmon favored because it is the strongest fish and the mosttasty….NEJAC Report on Fish Consumption and Environmental Justice 2001
Environmental Justice, Fish, andRisk• Harms associated with the degradation of aquatic habitatsand depletion of fisheries are intergenerational• Part of the affront to culture and social fabric of communitiesand tribes for whom fish and fishing are vital comes from thediminished opportunities for intergenerational transfer ofknowledge-especially ecological knowledge about places andnatural systems….• The acts of intergenerational transfer of customs andtraditions surrounding catching, preparing and consuming fishare themselves important to the maintenance of social andcultural healthNEJAC Report on Fish Consumption and Environmental Justice 2001
2009 Chesapeake Bay ExecutiveOrder• The Executive Order requires that these agenciesprepare and submit by September 9, 2009 draft reportsthat make recommendations to:– Define the next generation of tools and actions to restorewater quality in the Bay and describe the changes to bemade to regulations, programs and policies to implementthese actions.• U.S. Environmental Protection Agency– Target resources to better protect the Bay and its rivers,particularly in agricultural conservation practices.• U.S. Dept. of Agriculture– Strengthen storm water management practices for federalfacilities and federal land within the Bay watershed anddevelop a best practices guide for reducing polluted runoff.• EPA, & Dept. of Defense
2009 Chesapeake Bay ExecutiveOrder• The Executive Order requires that these agencies prepare andsubmit by September 9, 2009 draft reports that makerecommendations to:– Assess the impacts of climate change on the Bay and develop astrategy for adapting programs and infrastructure to these impacts.• Dept. of Interior & Dept. of Commerce– Expand public access to the Bay and its rivers from federal landsand conserve landscapes of the watershed.• Dept. of Interior– Expand environmental research, monitoring and observation tostrengthen scientific support for decision-making on Bayrestoration issues.• Dept. of Interior & Dept. of Commerce– Develop focused and coordinated habitat and researchactivities that protect and restore living resources and waterquality.• Dept. of Interior & Dept. of Commerce
Barriers to a HealthyChesapeake Bay• The Bay Program does not addresspollution impact on human health• The Bay Program is based on voluntaryagreements• The limitations of the CWA (33 USC§1342l(1); 40 CFR §122.3e) lead to thecontinuance of one of the major issues inthe bay ecosystem: nutrient pollution
Health Effects of Nitrates• Induction of methemoglobinemia– Blue baby’s disease– Babies less than one year of age or withrespiratory problems or diarrhea are at risk– Risk increases when drinking water withnitrates above 1- mg/l• Nitrates can be converted to nitrosamineswhich are carcinogenic
Pesticides in GroundwaterAt-Risk:WorkersFamilyMembersPregnant
Environmental Justice and WetlandRestoration Funding• 319 money grants and the programmatic (state-built) wetlands, there aresignificant racial disparities in terms of who benefits.
Environmental Injustice andNutrient Trading• Disproportionate health and environmental impacts on low-incomeand minority communities• Failure of governments to ensure that low-income and minoritycommunities enjoy the potential benefits of trading• Failure of governments to provide opportunities for full and fairparticipation by low-income and minority communitiesSource: Nutrient Trading to Target Chesapeake Bay’s Water Quality:Will the latest pollution ‘solution’ hurt minorities and the poor?Report by the Abell Foundation
Climate Change• Climate change does not affect all Americansequally. Communities of color and low-income neighborhoods suffer the greatesthealth and economic consequences. Amongthe many disparate impacts, theseAmericans are more likely to be exposed todirtier air, more vulnerable to extremeweather events, and suffer more than othersby the rising costs of basic necessities andeconomic dislocations caused by climatechange.
Climate Gap• The “Minding the Climate Gap” reportexamines one aspect of the “climate gap”in the context of market-based strategiesto limit greenhouse gas emissions.• Market strategies:– Charging a fee on carbon emitters toencourage reduction– Placing emitters within a cap-and-tradesystemSource: Shonkoff, S., Morello-Frosch, R., Pastor, P. & Sadd, J. (2009). Minding The Climate Gap:Environmental Health And Equity Implications Of Climate Change Mitigation Policies In CaliforniaEnvironmental Justice, 2(4), 173-176.
Closing the Climate GapOption 1: Restrict Allowance Allocations andTrading or Fee Options Among the WorstOffendersOption 2: Create Trading ZonesOption 3: Use Surcharges to Improve HighlyImpacted AreasOption 4: Create a Climate GapNeighborhoods Fund (also known as aCommunity Benefits Fund)Source: Shonkoff, S., Morello-Frosch, R., Pastor, P. & Sadd, J. (2009). Minding The Climate Gap:Environmental Health And Equity Implications Of Climate Change Mitigation Policies In CaliforniaEnvironmental Justice, 2(4), 173-176.
• “Those who profess to favor freedom andyet depreciate agitation, are people whowant crops without ploughing the ground;they want rain without thunder andlightning; they want the ocean without theroar of its many waters. The struggle maybe a moral one, or it may be a physicalone, or it may be both. But it must be astruggle. Power concedes nothing withouta demand. It never did and it never will.”• ― Frederick Douglass
• “There must exist a paradigm, a practicalmodel for social change that includes anunderstanding of ways to transformconsciousness that are linked to efforts totransform structures.”― Bell Hooks, killing rage: Ending Racism
Key Ingredients forAuthentic CommunityEngagement• Cultural competency• Trust• Attend to power inequities• Attend to conflicts• Evaluate and Attend to communitycapacity
Good Cultural/Contextual Understanding =Good Community Engagement• By conducting a self-assessment and communityassessment, advocates can reduce intimidation,increase community participation, build trust, andbecome more culturally aware about thecommunities with EJ concerns. Culturalcompetency is important for:– Understanding history– Understanding community issues– Understanding the community’s perception aboutoutside agents and lack of trust– Helping to assess and understand diverse communityinterests related to the environmental health problem
How Do We Perform CommunityEngagement in Public Health?• Community-based participatory research (CBPR): “collaborative,community-based approach to research that equitably involves communitymembers and organizations in all aspects of the research process” (Israelet al 1998)- Use CBPR framework to engage communities of concern on EJand health disparity issues- Principles include:- Recognizes community as an unity of identity- Builds on strengths and resources within the community- Facilitates collaborative, equitable involvement of all partners in allphases of the research- Integrates knowledge and intervention for mutual benefit- Promotes a co-learning and empowering process
• “There is hope if people willbegin to awaken that spiritualpart of them, that heartfeltknowledge that we arecaretakers of this planet.”– Brooke Medicine Eagle
• “Im for truth, no matter who tells it. Im forjustice, no matter who it is for or against. Im ahuman being, first and foremost, and as such Imfor whoever and whatever benefits humanity asa whole.”• “I for one believe that if you give people athorough understanding of what confronts themand the basic causes that produce it, theyllcreate their own program, and when the peoplecreate a program, you get action.”― Malcolm X
Community Outreach, Engagement, andCapacity-Building (COEC)