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Civil Rights Leaders Join Shintech Opponents Week Before EPA Dec
- To: email@example.com
- Subject: Civil Rights Leaders Join Shintech Opponents Week Before EPA Dec
- From: "Charlie Cray" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Tue, 26 Aug 1997 14:59:11 +0000
- Comments: Authenticated sender is <email@example.com>
- Organization: Greenpeace
- Priority: normal
For Immediate Release August 26, 1997
CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS JACKSON AND LOWERY URGE EPA
TO STOP LOUISIANA PLANT IN MAJOR RIGHTS CASE
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
"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
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