Environmental Injustice Seen in TVA Policies

Reported by Kyle Wolff

TVA’s environmental policies are putting low income Americans at risk, according to the nation’s most prominent advocate for environmental justice.

“We take your poison for a price,” said Dr. Robert Bullard on TVA’s decision to ship coal ash from spill in Kingston, Tenn., to waste disposal facilities near poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Uniontown, Ala.

Dr. Bullard, director of the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University, delivered his message to a packed Lipinsky Auditorium at the University of North Carolina-Asheville on Jan. 20, 2010.

In his presentation, Dr. Bullard challenged government and industrial policies that place low-income minority populations at special risk. His example of this was Uniontown, an area receiving waste from an environmental disaster that happened 300 miles north of them, in a county with a population that is 88 percent African American.

Environmental justice, as defined by Dr. Bullard and other advocates, is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.

Dr. Bullard explained that the TVA had to get rid of the coal ash mess, and they unjustly sent it south. He said Perry County was living with the effects of an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality by EPA and TVA.

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