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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/22/10

Government Allows BP to Dump Oil-Spill Waste on Black Communities

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Timberland Landfill (Allied Waste), Brewton, AL (15.4%)

FLORIDA

Springhill Regional Landfill (Waste Management, Inc.), Campbellton, FL (76.0%)

LOUISIANA

Colonial Landfill (Allied Waste), Ascension Parish, LA (34.7%)

Jefferson Parish Sanitary Landfill (Waste Management, Inc.), Avondale (51.7%)

Jefferson Davis Parish Landfill (Allied Waste), Welsh, LA (19.2%)

River Birch Landfill (Waste Management, Inc.), Avondale, LA (53.2%)

Tide Water Landfill (Environmental Operators LLC), Venice, LA (93.6%)

MISSISSIPPI

Central Landfill (Waste Management, Inc.), Pearl River, MS (5.0%)

Pecan Grove Landfill (Waste Management, Inc.), Harrison, MS (12.5%)

Even as the Obama administration oversees BP's waste management plan, the oil giant been allowed to dump oil-spill waste on a disproportionately large share of African Americans and other people of color communities in the Gulf Coast states. This targeting of people of color for BP oil-spill waste is consistent with past practices in the region.

Generally, it has been more of the same when it comes to disposal of oil-spill waste. African Americans and other people of color comprise a majority of the residents living within a one-mile radius in five of the nine landfills (56%) where BP oil-spill waste has been dumped. Two landfills in mostly white communities--Jefferson Davis Landfill in Walsh, LA and the Central Landfill in Poplarville, MS--although approved for disposal, have not yet received any BP oil-spill waste.

The two government approved landfills in Mississippi are located in mostly white communities. The disposal of BP waste in the Pecan Grove Landfill in Harrison and the "contingency plan" that would allow oil waste to be dumped at the Central Landfill in Pearl River County, MS generated an inordinate amount of media and government attention, unlike that generated in the mostly black communities where BP waste is dumped. Oil-spill waste was dumped in the Harrison County Pecan Grove Landfill over the objections of county supervisors. However, as of July 13, no BP oil waste had made its way to the Central Landfill in Pearl River County. Waste Management, Inc. Market Area Engineer Dan Bell informed Pearl County supervisors that there was no "economic value" in dumping any of the oil-spill waste at its Central Landfill. Ball added, "It is just more feasible right now and closer to the site at this time to use Pecan Grove. Right now we have no plans to use Central Landfill. But that could change tomorrow."

BP oil-spill waste in Florida is sent to the lone landfill that's located in a community where three-fourths of the population is people of color. One of the three landfills (33%) in Alabama approved for BP oil-spill waste is located in a mostly black community.

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Robert D. Bullard is Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston. His most recent book is entitled "The Wrong Complexion (more...)
 

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