A coalition of conservation and environmental justice groups today challenged the federal air pollution permit for the Avenal Power Plant proposed in the San Joaquin Valley. In a controversial decision, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency exempted the project from several key air pollution standards. The facility, proposed to be built by Texas-based Macquarie Energy, is targeted near the rural communities of Avenal and Kettleman City in California’s San Joaquin Valley, which already has some of the most polluted air in the country. The coalition filed legal papers with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the permit issued by the EPA.
Legal experts and scholars discuss the impact–good and bad–of the CWA over five decades.
On August 25, 2011, the U.S. EPA took an important step in protecting civil rights and working for environmental justice by entering into an agreement with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) to resolve a civil rights complaint filed in 1999 under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI). Title VI prohibits intentional discrimination and discriminatory effects on the basis of race, color, and national origin by recipients of federal financial assistance. By entering into this Agreement, EPA is delivering on its steadfast commitment to protecting and advancing civil rights, reforming the Agency’s Title VI program, addressing the backlog of complaints and providing effective enforcement of Title VI.
An Unreliable Housing Audit: A city-funded housing audit misrepresented evidence, making discrimination in Portland look worse than it really is
In May, Portland got smacked in the face with embarrassing news: Nearly two of every three times they sought a place to rent, African-American and Latino renters found evidence of discrimination from the city’s landlords.The news came from an audit paid for by the city of Portland and conducted by the nonprofit Fair Housing Council of Oregon. The audit claimed minority testers ran across evidence of potential discrimination 64 percent of the time they talked to landlords or rental agents.
A recent meeting that was meant to discuss a new outreach campaign on N. Williams Avenue turned into a raw and emotional exchange between community members and project staff about racism and gentrification.
Majora Carter says “You don’t have to move out of your neighborhood to live in a better one.” Read about how Carter has embraced this philosophy wholeheartedly in her adult life, transforming the neighborhood she was so desperate to escape as a child.
Environmental and other groups sue the EPA in federal court in Los Angeles for its failure to abide by and enforce Clean Air Act requirements. The Los Angeles region is still the smoggiest in the nation according to the American Lung Association’s 2011 State of the Air report and people daily suffer the real-world consequences of our failure to meet smog standards.
Waste-to-energy incineration plants are often a controversial topic. While fancy incinerator-turned-ski-hill projects are a hit in the design-minded blogosphere, others worry about both air quality concerns and the notion that incineration can distract us from better uses for waste like recycling or, gasp, not generating the stuff in the first place. One former coal mining community is up in arms over a planned mega-incinerator. As they pick up their fight, they show that it has often been the residents in resource-rich areas that have suffered the worst side effects of the fossil fuel economy—and provide a powerful reminder that the coming green industrial revolution can and must bring these economically marginalized communities along for the ride.
State Line coal-fired power plant in Hammond, Indiana has been rated one of the “top environmental offenders” in a NAACP report.
The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard covers 500 acres on San Francisco’s southeastern flank, jutting out into the bay like the fletching of a giant arrow. Acquired by the U.S. Navy in 1940, it was once one of the West Coast’s largest shipyards, at its World War II peak employing up to 17,000 people, many of them African Americans who settled nearby. The Navy ended its work at the Shipyard in 1974, devastating the local economy, and it was eventually listed for cleanup as a Superfund-equivalent site. These days, it’s a rusting city unto itself, its drydock and warehouses abandoned. For a long time, its only tenants were the city’s crime lab and artists drawn by the cheap space and haunting surroundings: a boarded-up diner, its Pepsi sign intact; the giant crane where the Navy once tested rockets; deserted labs that hosted radiological experiments.As one of the largest chunks of vacant land left in San Francisco – which has some of the highest land values and housing costs in the country – the shipyard represents an immense opportunity. And so last summer, after decades of wrangling and neglect, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved an ambitious redevelopment plan for the site. If completed, it will be one of the largest developments here since the creation of Golden Gate Park – and perhaps the most contentious.
Senior environmental enforcement officials from the U.S. Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toured sites in Newark, N.J., today and met with federal partners and with environmental and community organizations to discuss mutual efforts to address environmental challenges and enforce environmental laws, and in particular efforts to achieve environmental justice.
Jonathan Ostar, Lewis & Clark Law School alumnus, is working with West Hayden Island residents to ensure that the project, if built, has minimal impacts to that community. Ostar said Hayden Island residents, particularly those in a manufactured home community on the west side of the island, were initially left out of the conversation about the design of the project – and mitigation of its impacts.
A brief description of the current effort to institutionalize sustainability at the law school, give insight into where sustainability is headed, and request participation.