United States. Congress. House. Committee on the J.

Environmental justice : hearings before the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, March 3 and 4, 1993 online

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ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE



HEARINGS

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON
CIVIL AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIAKY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION



MARCH 3 AND 4, 1993



Serial No. 64








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U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1994



For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-046292-4



ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE



HEARINGS

BEFORE THE

SUBCOMMITTEE ON
CIVIL AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

OF THE

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIAEY
HOUSE OP REPRESENTATIVES

ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION



MARCH 3 AND 4, 1993



Serial No. 64




Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary



77-818 cc



U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1994







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For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
ISBN 0-16-046292-4



COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY



JACK BROOKS,

DON EDWARDS, California
JOHN CONYERS, JR., Michigan
ROMANO L. MAZZOLI, Kentucky
WILLIAM J. HUGHES, New Jersey
MIKE SYNAR, Oklahoma
PATRICIA SCHROEDER, Colorado
DAN GLICKMAN, Kansas
BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts
CHARLES E. SCHUMER, New York
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JOHN BRYANT, Texas
GEORGE E. SANGMEISTER, Illinois
CRAIG A. WASHINGTON, Texas
JACK REED, Rhode Island
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
DAVID MANN, Ohio
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
XAVIER BECERRA, California



Texas, Chairman

HAMILTON FISH, JR., New York
CARLOS J. MOORHEAD, California
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, JR.,

Wisconsin
BILL McCOLLUM, Florida
GEORGE W. GEKAS, Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR S. SMITH, Texas
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
JIM RAMSTAD, Minnesota
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
BOB INGLIS, South Carolina
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia



JONATHAN R. Yarowsky, General Counsel

ROBERT H. BRINK, Deputy General Counsel

Alan F. Coffey, JR., Minority Chief Counsel



Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights

DON EDWARDS, California, Chairman
PATRICIA SCHROEDER, Colorado HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois

BARNEY FRANK, Massachusetts HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina

CRAIG A. WASHINGTON, Texas CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida

JERROLD NADLER, New York

Catherine LeRoy, Counsel

Ivy Davis-Fox, Assistant Counsel

JAMES X. DempSEY, Assistant Counsel

VIRGINIA SLOAN, Assistant Counsel

Melody Barnes, Assistant Counsel

KATHRYN HaZEEM, Minority Counsel



(ID



CONTENTS



HEARINGS DATES

Page

March 3, 1993 1

March 4, 1993 93

OPENING STATEMENT

Edwards, Hon. Don, a Representative in Congress from the State of Califor-
nia, and chairman, Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights 1

WITNESSES

Almanza, Susana R., co-chair, Southwest Network for Environmental and

Economic Justice 155

Bryant, Pat, executive director, Gulf Coast Tenants Association 9

Bullard, Robert D., professor of sociology, Department of Sociology, University
of California ••••• 46

Chavis, Dr. Benjamin F., Jr., executive director, United Church of Christ,

Commission for Racial Justice 3

Cohen, Dr. Bonner R., editor, EPA Watch 122

Conley, Rev. R.T., director, Dallas Area Southern Organizing Committee for
Economic and Social Justice, Dallas, TX •• ; 136

Ferris, Deeohn, program director, Environmental Justice Project, Lawyers

Committee for CivU Rights Under Law 54

Gaylord, Dr. Clarice, Director, Office of Environmental Equity, U.S. Environ-
mental Protection Agency •••••» I 7

Goldtooth, Tom environmental director, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians,

and national council officer, Indigenous Environmental Network 169

Jeffreys, Kent, director, environmental studies, Competitive Enterprise Insti-
tute •;"• 62

Johnson, Hazel, founder and executive director, People for Community

Recovery ••••• ••••••; ^

Lee, Pamela Tau, labor health educator, occupational health program, Univer-
sity of California, Berkeley 143

McDermott, Charles J., director, government affairs, Waste Management,

Inc 71

McSlarrow, Kyle E., environmental attorney, Hunton & Williams 125

Mohai, Paul, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Natural Resources and
Environment, Department of Sociology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
MI 96

LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARINGS

Almanza, Susana R., co-chair, Southwest Network for Environmental and

Economic Justice: Prepared statement 15V

Bryant, Pat, executive director, Gulf Coast Tenants Association: Prepared

ststoincnt

Bullard, Robert D., professor of sociology, Department of Sociology, University
of California: Prepared statement ;•••■ 48

Chavis, Dr. Benjamin F., Jr., executive director, United Church of Christ,

Commission for Racial Justice: Prepared statement 5

Cohen, Dr. Bonner R., editor, EPA Watch: Prepared statement 123

Conley, Rev. R.T., director, Dallas Area Southern Organizing Committee for
Economic and Social Justice, Dallas, TX: Prepared statement 138

(III)



IV

Page

Ferris, Deeohn, program director, Environmental Justice Project, Lawyers'
Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: Prepared statement 56

Gaylord, Dr. Clarice, Director, Office of Environmental Equity, U.S.
Enviornmental Protection Agency: Prepared statement 19

Goldtooth, Tom, environmental director, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians,
and national council officer, Indigenous Environmental Network: Prepared
statement 171

Hyde, Hon. Henry J., a Representative in Congress from the State of Illinois:

Prepared statement: 94

Jeffreys, Kent, director, environmental studies, Competitive Enterprise Insti-
tute: Prepared statement 64

Johnson, Hazel, founder and executive director, People for Community Recov-
ery: Prepared statement 8

Lee, Pamela Tau, labor health educator, occupational health program, Univer-
sity of California, Berkeley: Prepared statement 145

McDermott, Charles J., director, government affairs, Waste Management,
Inc.: Prepared statement 74

McSlarrow, Kyle E., environmental attorney, Hunton & Williams: Prepared

statement 126

Mohai, Paul, Ph.D., assistant professor, School of Natural Resources and
Environment, Department of Sociology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor,
MI: Prepared statement 98

APPENDDC

Statement of Hon. Cynthia A. McKinney, a Representative in Congress from
the State of Georgia 179



ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 1993

House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights,

Committee on the Judiciary,

Washington, DC.

The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:30 a.m., in room
2237, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Don Edwards
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Present: Representatives Don Edwards and Henry J. Hyde.

Also present: Catherine LeRoy, counsel; Melody Barnes, assistant
counsel; Ivy Davis-Fox, assistant counsel; Jancelyn Pegues,
secretary; and Kathryn Hazeem, minority counsel.

OPENING STATEMENT OF CHAIRMAN EDWARDS

Mr. Edwards. Good morning. The subcommittee will come to
order.

Today's hearings move this subcommittee to the forefront of a
new civil rights issue. Although the issue of environmental justice
is new to the subcommittee, the essential problem of injustice is
one with which we are very familiar. The problem of environmental
injustice confronts African-American, Asian-American, Latino-, and
Native-American communities across the country.

The facts are alarming. For example, 40 percent of this country's
hazardous waste fill capacity is located in three minority commu-
nities. Shocking consequences result. Babies are being born with
serious birth defects. Some die. Children are suffering from lead
poisoning and men and women are battling with cancer, res-
piratory illnesses, rashes, and infections.

In fact, the Latino community in part of my former district in
California continues to struggle with an asbestos contaminated
rain levee which had been declared a Superfund site.

Therefore, today we begin the process of gathering more informa-
tion about this problem and the manner in which the United States
can be the most effective in protecting its citizens from lives
plagued with toxins and illnesses.

Finally, I know I speak for everyone who believes this is an im-
portant issue when I congratulate National Law Journal reporters
Marcy Coyle, Mary Ann Lavelle, and Claudia McLaughlin. These
three reporters were honored with the George W. Polk Award for
their comprehensive series, "Unequal Protection: The Racial Divide
in Environmental Law."

We do congratulate them on a very good investigative reporting
job.

(1)



Mr. Hyde.

Mr. Hyde. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The focus of our hearings over the next 2 days is the issue of en-
vironmental justice. The claim has been made that racial minori-
ties and the poor are exposed to life-threatening environmental
hazards more often than middle class and nonminority commu-
nities. This hearing will examine whether this exposure is due to
racism, as some have alleged, or it can be explained by other fac-
tors such as economic power and political organization.

Economic factors certainly account for some degree of increased
exposure to environmental risk. Hazardous waste sites, factories
and landfills are more likely to be located on cheaper land, where
more minorities and low-income Americans reside.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, however,
there is a general lack of data on environmental health effects by
race and income. With the exception of the problems created by
lead contamination, the link between race exposure to environ-
mental risks and adverse health effects has not been scientifically
established.

Whatever the cause of these problems, it is the duty of the law
and of the Federal agency enforcing the law to protect every indi-
vidual regardless of his or her race or income level from exposure
to life-threatening environmental hazards.

I hope these hearings will deepen our understanding of these
very important issues, and I certainly look forward to the testi-
mony of each of the witnesses.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Edwards. Thank you, Mr. Hyde.

Will the witnesses please raise your right hand?

[Witnesses sworn.]

Mr. Edwards. Thank you.

Mr. Hyde, would you be so kind as to introduce the witness
panel?

Mr. Hyde. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis is executive director of the United
Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice. In 1987, the Com-
mission for Racial Justice released its landmark report, "Toxic
Waste and Race in the United States."

Most recently, Dr. Chavis served on President Clinton's transi-
tion team in the natural resource and environment cluster. Dr.
Chavis is a 30-year veteran and hero of the civil rights movement.
As a member of the famed Wilmington 10, Dr. Chavis unjustly
spent 4V2 years in North Carolina prisons during the 1970's.
Today, Dr. Chavis continues to provide national leadership in the
areas of civil rights and environmental justice.

Hazel Johnson founded People for Community Recovery in 1982,
a grassroots environmental organization located in the southeast
side of Chicago, IL. In 1992, she received a Presidential medal for
her educational work on environmental issues.

For the past 10 years, Ms. Johnson, along with one of her daugh-
ters, has fought to monitor and reduce the hazards in her commu-
nity. She is now a model for others taking a stand on the environ-
mental degradation in their communities.



Pat Bryant is the executive director of the Gulf Coast Tenants
Association, a federation of tenant leaders in 42 communities in
Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The Gulf Coast Tenants As-
sociation trains grassroots black community leaders to become or-
ganizers and advocates in human rights, including decent housing,
job development, quality education, health care and a healthy envi-
ronment.

Mr. Bryant is also a member of the Southern Organizing Com-
mittee for Economic and Social Justice.

And Clarice Gaylord is Director of the Office of Environmental
Equity at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Welcome.

Mr. Edwards. Thank you, Mr. Hyde.

All of your statements in full will be made a part of the perma-
nent record. We are asking each of the members of the panel to
limit their remarks to about 5 minutes. When the red light comes
on, if you could sort of wind it down. We would like to be able to
stay here for several days and go into even more depth, but we do
have some problems with time.

Ben, I guess you are first. You may proceed.

STATEMENT OF DR. BENJAMIN F. CHAVIS, JR., EXECUTIVE DI-
RECTOR, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, COMMISSION FOR
RACIAL JUSTICE

Dr. Chavis. Thank you. Good morning.

Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee on Civil and
Constitutional Rights, I am indeed pleased to have this opportunity
to present testimony today on a subject matter of great importance
to all Americans. The issue of environmental justice has emerged
over the last several years as one of the most challenging justice
issues facing our Nation as we begin the transition into the 21st
century.

The convening of this congressional hearing is another critical
step in defining and clarifying the complexity, magnitude, and cri-
sis character of the growing problem of a disproportionate impact
of environmental degradation on people-of-color communities
throughout the United States of America.

On behalf of the Commission for Racial Justice, of the 1.6-million
member United Church of Christ, I wish to state for the record our
appreciation to the Committee on the Judiciary and the Sub-
committee on Civil and Constitutional Rights for moving forward
with this hearing.

I have known and have worked with the chairman of the sub-
committee for over 20 years. The Honorable Congressman Don Ed-
wards has been and continues to be an effective advocate for civil
and constitutional rights.

We would also note that in the pursuit of civil rights, we have
had for many years a constructive relationship with other distin-
guished members of the Judiciary Committee. The Honorable
Congresspersons John Conyers, Patricia Schroeder, Craig A. Wash-
ington, Robert C. Scott, and Melvin T. Watt. I would just note back
in the 1970's, Mr. Watt was one of the lawyers for the Wilmington
10. I am glad to see he is now in Congress.



There has been considerable progress made in the Nation during
the past three decades concerning equal protection under the law
and respect for the civil rights of all persons. Yet, today we are all
aware of the lingering vestiges of racial discrimination, hatred and
bigotry that have been institutionalized in the social fabric of our
society.

While I have written remarks prepared, Mr. Chairman, I will try
to stay within the timeframe, and I have some written material I
would like to introduce into the record at the appropriate time.

Environmental racism, a definition of the problem. As a direct re-
sult of confronting the racial injustice of placing a toxic waste land-
fill in the predominantly African-American Warren County, NC, I
coined the term, "environmental racism," in 1982. Environmental
racism is defined as racial discrimination in environmental policy
making, and the unequal enforcement of environmental laws and
regulations.

It is the deliberate targeting of people-of-color communities for
toxic waste facilities and the official sanctioning of a life- threaten-
ing presence of poisons and pollutants in people-of-color commu-
nities.

It is also manifested in the history of excluding people of color
from the leadership of the environmental movement. The issue of
environmental racism in our communities has become an issue of
life and death. We believe that there is a direct correlation between
a disproportionate presence of toxic-generating repository and/or
disposal facilities and pollutants and the disproportionate increase
in infant mortality, birth defects, cancer, and respiratory illnesses
in people-of-color communities across the Nation.

In April 1987, the Commission for Racial Justice completed and
released the first national research study that exposed a systematic
national pattern of targeting people-of-color communities for toxic
and hazardous waste sites. We researched every ZIP Code area in
the entire Nation.

The name of the report is "Toxic Waste and Race in the United
States, a National Report on the Racial and Socioeconomic Charac-
teristics of Communities with Hazardous Waste Sites." For the pur-
poses of this hearing, Mr. Chairman, I would request that a copy
of this report in its entirety be entered into the record of this hear-
ing.

Mr. Edwards. Without objection, it will be made a part of the

record.

Dr. Chavis. Race did prove to be the most significant of the vari-
ables tested in the location of commercial hazardous waste facili-
ties.

Two, although socioeconomic status appeared to play an impor-
tant role, as Congressman Hyde alluded to in his opening state-
ment, in the location of commercial waste facilities, race still
proved to be the most significant.

Three, communities with the greatest number of commercial haz-
ardous waste facilities had the highest composition of racial and
ethnic residents.

Four, three out of every five African-Americans and Hispanic-
Americans live in locations of uncontrolled toxic sites.

I see the red light, so I will conclude.



There is a convergence of the civil rights movement and the envi-
ronmental justice movement. And we are pleased to report that in
1991, in October, we sponsored the first National People of Color
Leadership Summit. I would like to enter into the record, Mr.
Chairman, the proceedings of that historic summit in its entirety,
because this is the most comprehensive overview of the issue of en-
vironmental justice and environmental racism, spoken by the var-
ious representatives of people-of-color communities themselves.

Mr. Edwards. Thank you. Without objection, it will be made a
part of the file.

Dr. Chavis. Lastly, let me note for the record and for the infor-
mation of the committee that Congressman John Lewis last year
introduced the Environmental Justice Act. Senator Al Gore intro-
duced it on the Senate side. It was H.R. 5326. The purpose of the
bill was to establish a program to assure nondiscriminatory compli-
ance with all environmental health, safety laws and to ensure
equal protection of the public health.

I have talked with Congressman Lewis in the last 4 to 8 hours.
I understand in the next few days he will reintroduce the Environ-
mental Justice Act. And I have heard that Senator Wofford, Har-
rison Wofford on the Senate side, intends to introduce it in the next
few days.

So there is something being put in the legislative hopper as a
legislative remedy to the issue of environmental justice, environ-
mental racism, and the question of environmental equity.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Edwards. Thank you, Reverend Chavis.

[The statement of Dr. Chavis follows:]

Prepared Statement of Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., Executive Director,
United Church of Christ, Commission For Racial Justice

Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional
Rights, I am indeed pleased to have this opportunity to present testimony today on
a subject matter of great importance to all Americans. The issue of environmental
justice has emerged over the last several years as one the most challenging justice
issues facing our nation as we begin the transition into the twenty-first century.

The convening of this Congressional hearing is another critical step in defining
and clarifying the complexity, magnitude, and crisis-character of the growing prob-
lem of the disproportionate impact of environmental degradation on people of color
communities throughout the United States of America.

On behalf of the Commission for Racial Justice of the 1.6 million-member United
Church of Christ, I wish to state for the record our appreciation to the Committee
on the Judiciary and to the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights for
moving forward with this hearing. I have known and have worked with the chair-
man of the subcommittee for over 20 years. The Honorable Congressman Don Ed-
wards has been and continues to be an effective advocate for civil and constitutional
rights.

We would also note that in the pursuit of civil rights we have had for many years
a constructive relationship with other distinguished members of the Judiciary Com-
mittee: The Honorable Congresspersons John Conyers, Patricia Schroeder, Craig A.
Washington, Robert C. Scott, and Melvin T. Watt.

There has been considerable progress made in the Nation during the past three
decades concerning equal protection under the law and respect for the civil rights
for all persons. Yet, today we are all aware of the lingering vestiges of racial dis-
crimination, hatred and bigotry that have been institutionalized into the social fab-
ric of our society.



ENVIRONNENTAL RACISM: A DEFINITION OF THE PROBLEM

As a direct result of confronting the racial injustice of placing a toxic waste land-
fill in the predominantly African American Warren County, North Carolina, I coined
the term environmental racism in 1982. Environmental racism is defined as racial
discrimination in environmental policy making and the unequal enforcement of en-
vironmental laws and regulations. It is the deliberate targeting of people of color
communities for toxic waste facilities and the official sanctioning of a life threaten-
ing presence of poisons and pollutants in people of color communities. It is also
manifested in the history of excluding people of color from the leadership of the en-
vironmental movement.

The issue of environmental racism in our communities has become an issue of life
and death. We believe that there is a direct correlation between the disproportionate
presence of toxic generating, repository and/or disposal facilities and pollutants and
the disproportionate increase in infant mortality, birth defects, cancer, and res-
piratory illnesses in people of color communities across the Nation.

In April of 1987, the Commission For Racial Justice completed and released the
first national research study that exposed the systematic national pattern of
targeting people of color communities for toxic and hazardous waste sites. We re-
searched every ZIP Code area in the entire Nation. The name of our report is Toxic
Wastes and Race in the United States: A National Report on the Racial and Socio-
economic Characteristics of Communities With Hazardous Waste Sites. For the pur-
poses of this hearing, Mr. Chairman, I request that a copy of this report in its en-
tirety be entered into the record.

The major findings of our research showed that: 1. Race proved to be the most
significant among variables tested in association with the location of commercial
hazardous waste facilities; 2. Although socio-economic status appeared to play an
important role in the location of commercial hazardous waste facilities, race still
proved to be more significant; 3. Communities with the greatest number of commer-
cial hazardous waste facilities had the highest composition of racial and ethnic resi-
dents; and 4. Three out of every five African American and Hispanic Americans
lived in communities with uncontrolled toxic waste sites.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT: THE CONVERGENCE OF CIVIL RIGHTS AND

ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS

We are pleased to report that there is a growing national movement throughout
the Unitea States that has emerged to challenge environmental racism and injus-
tice. The name of this multiracial and multicultural movement is "the environ-
mental justice movement."

In October of 1991, we helped to sponsor the first national people of color environ-
mental leadership summit here on Capitol Hill. Native American, African American,
Latino American, and Asian and Pacific Islander American delegates came together



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Committee on the JEnvironmental justice : hearings before the Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, first session, March 3 and 4, 1993 → online text (page 1 of 25)