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Civil Rights Leaders Join Shintech Opponents Week Before EPA Dec

  For Immediate Release        August 26, 1997
  EPA Decision Could Bar Industries from Locating in Minority
  Washington, D.C. -- Citizens in a small Louisiana town have new allies
  in their controversial fight to stop a huge polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  industrial complex from locating in their community.  The Reverend
  Jesse Jackson sent a letter to EPA Administrator, Carol Browner,
  urging her agency to "use its moral and legal authority to stop
  Shintech from locating in Convent, Louisiana."  Southern Christian
  Leadership Conference President Reverend Joseph Lowery wrote to
  Browner that "Shintech's proposal . . . demonstrates a callous
  disregard for Convent's residents. . . and would define this region of
  our country as a sacrifice zone for toxic chemicals."  
  Shintech is a Japanese company that plans to construct and operate
  three PVC production plants and an incinerator in Convent, Louisiana.
  Convent is 72% African American and 40% of its residents live below
  the poverty level.  The EPA has determined that chemicals used in PVC
  production are human carcinogens and that dioxin is a major national
  health threat.  Opponents charge Shintech with environmental racism.
  On September 2, 1997, the EPA is expected to render a
  precedent-setting decision that has the potential to not only stop
  Shintech from locating in Louisiana, but also prevent other companies
  from building toxic facilities in poor communities and communities of
  color in the future.  The EPA's decision will be based on a citizens'
  petition that was co-written by Greenpeace and the Tulane University
  Environmental Law Clinic.  Letters by Jackson and Lowery follow a
  year-long struggle by local residents, Greenpeace, and other
  environmental groups. 
  "As respected national civil rights leaders, Reverend Jackson and
  Reverend Lowery send a clear message to EPA that it can not allow
  hazardous industries to endanger the health of vulnerable citizens,"
  said Monique Harden, an attorney with Greenpeace who co-wrote the
  citizens' petition.  "The EPA is now at a crossroads.  The agency can
  either guarantee environmental protection for citizens, who have been
  unjustly burdened with toxic pollution, or bend to the will of
  multinational polluters," said Harden.
  Shintech is expected to be a test case for the role of environmental
  justice in permitting decisions.  As President Clinton's Executive
  Order directs the EPA to prevent or reduce pollution burdens in
  low-income and minority populations, industries are eyeing the
  upcoming decision closely.  Plans for industrial expansions and new
  locations, which would have negative impacts on people of color, may
  be blocked by the EPA decision.
  "After ten years of citizen rallies and protests that raised public
  consciousness about the importance and necessity of environmental
  justice," wrote Jackson, "[EPA] must commit itself beyond studies and
  analyses, and must now act."
  Contact:  Monique Harden, Greenpeace Toxics Campaign, 800 216-0265
   Nancy Ware, Executive Director, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, (202)333-5270
   Deric Gilliard and David Stokes, Southern Christian Leadership
   Conference (404) 527-4329
  Charlie Cray
  Greenpeace US Toxics Campaign
  847 W. Jackson Blvd., 7th floor
  Chicago, IL 60607
  Ph: (312) 563-6060 x218
  Fax: (312) 563-6099
  Note new e-mail address: Charlie.Cray@dialb.greenpeace.org