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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 for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African American Communities" (NYU Press 2012).
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, July 21, 2009 Dumping in Dixie: TVA Toxic Spill Cleaned Up and Shipped to Alabama Blackbelt
A major environmental injustice was perpetrated recently by the federal EPA's approval of plans to ship 3 million cubic yards of toxic coal fly ash from ostly white East Tennessee to a landfill in Perry County, Alabama, the heart of the Alabama "Black Belt." Millions of Americans have expectations that the Obama administration will change this unjust and immoral "Dumping in Dixie" waste disposal pattern.
(4 comments) SHARE Sunday, September 7, 2014 Why a U.S. "Southern Initiative" on Climate Justice is Needed
Climate-related disasters in the southern United States have outnumbered those in other regions of the U.S. annually in both scale and magnitude by a ratio of almost 4:1 during the past decade. Given its unique history, a "southern initiative" is needed to address climate vulnerability and develop strategies for building just and resilient communities.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, July 22, 2010 Government Allows BP to Dump Oil-Spill Waste on Black Communities
While the media spotlight has focused attention on efforts at stopping the massive oil leak and cleaning up the spill, the same level of attention has not been given to where the clean-up waste is eventually dumped. Given the sad history of waste disposal in the South, it should be no surprise to anyone that much of the BP oil-spill waste ends up in Black communities.
SHARE Saturday, July 31, 2010 Over 60 Percent of BP Waste Dumped in Minority Communities
A significantly large share of the BP oil-spill waste, 24,071 tons out of 39,448 tons (61 percent), is dumped in people of color communities. This is not a small point since African Americans make up just 22 percent of the coastal counties in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana, while people of color comprise about 26 percent of the population in coastal counties.
SHARE Sunday, January 20, 2013 MLK Day 2013: Why Transportation is Still a Civil Rights Issue
Much of transportation justice Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pioneered during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in the 1950s is yet unfinished as the nation celebrates the 2013 MLK Day. However, his legacy lives on in the transportation justice movement who intergenerational leaders continue to challenge unfair and unjust discriminatory transportation policies and programs.
SHARE Sunday, July 5, 2009 Environmental Justice Leaders Call on Obama Administration to Roll Back Bush-Era Wastes Rule
Environmental justice leaders are calling on the Obama administration to withdraw a rule finalized during the waning days of the Bush administration to revise the definition of solid waste. Under the new rule, unlicensed and barely supervised companies will handle hazardous industrial wastes,some of which are highly flammable, explosive and corrosive, that contain chemicals known to cause cancer and other health problems.
SHARE Saturday, May 7, 2011 A 20-Point Plan to Address Environmental Health Disparities
A "20-point plan" for addressing environmental health disparities is offered in an effort to build, support and strengthen the work around environmental justice, health and racial equity into the future. The plan emerged from a review and synthesis of three decades of research, practice and public policy.
SHARE Thursday, March 25, 2010 Black Atlantans Left Behind as the City Goes Green and Sustainable (Part 1 of 3)
The State of Black Atlanta Summit 2010 was held last month examined major challenges, barriers, and opportunities facing the city, often hyped as the Black Mecca. The central question raised at the Summit revolved around whether Atlanta's black population is reaping any substantive benefits as the city becomes green and sustainable?
SHARE Friday, January 14, 2011 Environmental Justice Movement Loses Southside Chicago Icon Hazel Johnson
At 1:42am on Wednesday, January 12, 2011, the nation lost Hazel Johnson, an icon of the Environmental Justice Movement in the United States. Nearly two decades ago in October 1991, Ms. Johnson was tagged the "Mother of the Environmental Justice Movement" at the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit. This unofficial title was reaffirmed at the 2002 EJ Summit II held in Washington, DC.
SHARE Tuesday, February 21, 2017 African Americans Need a Strong and Independent Federal EPA
Millions of African Americans look to the federal EPA for equal environmental protection they have been denied by their state environmental agencies. A weakened EPA is a recipe for disaster and a roadmap for more trips to the emergency room for many Americans who live on the fenceline with polluting industries. We must resist all efforts to dismantle the EPA and our nation's environmental protection apparatus.
SHARE Monday, March 2, 2015 Third Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference to Be Held in New Orleans March 26-29
A consortium of historically black colleges and universities, led by Dillard University's Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and Texas Southern University Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs, will host the Third Annual HBCU Student Climate Change Conference March 26-29,2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
SHARE Wednesday, August 26, 2009 Sept. 5 Labor Day “Call to End Toxic Racism” Rally in Dickson, Tennessee
To highlight the continuing toxic dumping problem in Black communities, national civil rights, faith based, and environmental justice leaders from around the country are planning a rally in Dickson, Tennessee on Saturday, September 5, 2009. Dickson is located about 35 miles west of Nashville. The Holt family's 150-acre farm and wells were poisoned and their wealth stolen by the leaky Dickson County Landfill.
(2 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 25, 2015 Racist 20-Point Plan to Destroy Black New Orleans Uncovered a Few Months After Hurricane Katrina
This August 29 will mark the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Much attention has already been given to what has and has not happened over this decade-long struggle to repair, rebuild and reclaim a New Orleans devastated by the massive flooding caused by the levee breech. The article revisits the "Twenty Point Plan to Destroy Black New Orleans," written a few months after the flood in 2005.
SHARE Tuesday, September 16, 2014 After People's Climate March - Call to Diversify Funding of Climate Justice
In order for the nation to make headway on the climate change front, we need mainstream environmental organization and the philanthropic community who supported the People's Climate March to support the recommendations for diversifying funding and building an infrastructure of "grassroots" efforts, ethnic-based networks, and regional environmental and climate initiatives--better known as Climate Justice Movement.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, December 8, 2011 Why HBCUs Need to Step Up on Climate Change
Climate change is not only an environmental issue--it is also an issue of health, social justice, and human rights. Climate change amplifies existing inequalities, especially inequality that has left African Americans, Africa, and the African diaspora behind.
(1 comments) SHARE Friday, April 19, 2013 Living with More Pollution: Why Race and Place Still Matter
Healthy people and healthy places are highly correlated. The poorest of the poor within the U.S. have the worst health and live in the most degraded environments. Race also maps closely with pollution, unequal protection, and vulnerability. Zip code is a potent predictor of health.
SHARE Thursday, September 3, 2009 Time for New Type of EPA Regional Administrators
President Barack Obama made a bold move this year by selecting Lisa P. Jackson to head the EPA. Now he is set to select EPA regional administrators—ten important and powerful posts where fundamental change is needed, especially in regions where states have a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and resistance to civil rights and equal environmental protection under the law.
SHARE Friday, February 7, 2014 Black History Month: Why We Need Just Energy and Climate Policies Now
The campaign to make clean energy available to all communities is clearly an environmental and climate justice issue. A number of coalitions have called on President Obama to "close the environmental justice gap" in his climate action plan. African Americans’ quest for just energy and climate policies is about environmental justice, economic justice and civil rights.
SHARE Saturday, November 24, 2007 Toxics Tour Planned to Highlight Environmental Racism
On Thursday, November 29, a coalition of national leaders from around the country will meet at Nashville's Fisk University and board a bus for Dickson, Tennessee, a small town located about 35 miles to the west. The leaders will participate in the "Take Back Black Health Toxics Tour" of the Harry Holt family homestead that was poisoned by toxic racism and the deadly TCE contamination from the Dickson County Landfill.
SHARE Saturday, January 25, 2014 Why Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security Must Be a National Priority
Because of congressional gridlock and the growing threat of chemical disasters, President Obama signed Executive Order 13650: Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security. The Executive Order seeks to improve Federal agency coordination and information sharing; modernize policies, regulations, and standards; and work with stakeholders to identify best practices to prevent chemical disasters.
SHARE Monday, February 21, 2011 Talking Clean, Acting Dirty: How Energy Apartheid Hurts African Americans
The movement to renewable energy is the preferred strategy to a clean energy future for the country. Who gets clean and green energy and who gets left behind with dirty technology is an environmental justice, social equity, economic, and health issue. The de facto energy apartheid policy of "talking green" and "acting dirty" hits African Americans especially hard--and ultimately adds to the widening health disparities.
(3 comments) SHARE Tuesday, August 18, 2020 Racism and COVID-19, Two Viruses That Threaten Black America
Black America is under siege from
converging multiple threats unlike any it has seen in modern time, all made
worse by COVID-19 and the underlying condition of systemic racism. The coronavirus is acting like a "heat-seeking" missile targeting the most vulnerable in our society, resulting in elevated hospitalizations
and deaths among Black Americans. Ending racism will save lives and money and improve health.
SHARE Saturday, October 24, 2009 Poisoned Communities Put Spotlight on EPA Region 4
On Tuesday morning at 10:30am, October 27, environmental justice leaders representing more than dozen poisoned communities from six southern states will meet in Atlanta with EPA Regional acting administrator A. Stanley Meiberg and senior staff to present documentation of unequal protection and failures on the part of the EPA and state environmental agencies to protect low-income and people of color communities.
SHARE Wednesday, April 15, 2015 After New Orleans HBCU Climate Change Consortium Planning Next Stop COP21 in Paris
Over 200 students and faculty mentors attended the Third Annual HBCU Climate Change Conference in New Orleans on March 26-29 sponsored by Dillard University and Texas Southern University. Consortium members developed a 6-month fund-raising plan to ensure a diverse number of students/faculty mentors and leaders from climate-impacted communities engage in on-the-ground activities leading up to the United Nations COP21 in Paris.
(2 comments) SHARE Wednesday, April 21, 2010 Earth Day at Forty Still Leaves "Dirty Dumping in Dixie" Practices in Place
On April 22, 2010, the nation celebrates the fortieth anniversary of Earth Day. Much has been achieved in environmental and public health protection over these past four decades. However, much work remains, especially in terms of achieving equal protection and equal enforcement of our environmental and energy laws. While the nation goes green, "dirty energy" is targeted at black and other people of color communities.
SHARE Saturday, March 27, 2010 Black Atlantans Stranded by Legacy of Inequality (Part 2 of 3)
As Atlanta goes green and sustainable, the city's African American population finds itself left on the side of the road because of residential segregation, inadequate public transportation, location of major job centers, and persistent inequality. This article examines the impact of racialized place on the city's transportation, land use, and environmental policies--and Black Atlantans access to opportunity.
SHARE Thursday, March 5, 2015 Environmental Justice Leaders to Hold Tribunal at Selma 50th Anniversary Commemoration
A coalition of environmental and climate justice and civil rights leaders will hold a tribunal in Selma, AL on Saturday March 7 as part of the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of Jubilee Bridge Crossing. The theme of the tribunal is "Change Is Gonna Come: Advancing an Environmental and Climate Justice Agenda in the South." A strategy session will also be held to map out a "southern initiative" on climate justice.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, June 27, 2013 HBCUs Form Partnership to Address Climate Change in Vulnerable Communities
On Tuesday the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University (TSU), the nation's third largest public Historically Black Colleges and Universities ( HBCUs )launched its Climate Education Community University Partnership (CECUP), a consortium of public and private universities and vulnerable communities located on the Gulf Coast and South Atlantic Region of the United States.
SHARE Tuesday, November 9, 2010 Polluted Communities to Meet with First Black EPA Region 4 Head
Given the dire circumstances low income and people of color communities in the South find themselves, environmental justice leaders are calling on the new EPA Region 4 administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming, the first African American to hold the post, to reverse the deadly impact of environmental racism and establish transparency, accountability, justice, and trust as hallmarks of her administration.
SHARE Saturday, July 14, 2007 Groups Seek NAACP Help in "Burying" Toxic Racism
Representatives from the National Black Environmental Justice Network traveled to Detroit as part of a delegation calling on NAACP leaders attending the 2007 convention to take on environmental racism as a national campaign. The group conducted a "toxics tour" that took delegates past chemical plants, steel mills, automotive factories, abandoned industrial sites, and waste incinerators.
SHARE Tuesday, December 6, 2011 African Americans in Africa: Climate Justice and COP17
A 12-member African Americans delegation (students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), academics, human rights advocates, researchers and policy analysts, environmental and climate justice leaders, and Hurricane Katrina survivors from New Orleans) join thousands of leaders at the United Nations COP17 Climate Conference in Durban, South Africa to work on climate justice.
SHARE Friday, April 22, 2011 Environmental Justice Milestones Since Summit II, 2002-2011
As part of Earth Day 2011 celebration, the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University prepared a Timeline-Milestones report that chronicles the major accomplishments of the EJ Movement since the 2002 Second National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit.
(5 comments) SHARE Sunday, July 13, 2014 Houston's Experimental Recycling Plan Targets Minority Neighborhoods for Waste Facility
The Zero Waste Houston Coalition released a new report that documents the environmental justice and civil rights implications of the City experimental One Bin for All waste recycling plan. The plan gives preference to locating new waste facility at an existing landfill. Houston since the 1920s has located its landfills, incinerators and garbage transfer stations exclusively in mostly African American and Latino neighborhoods.
(1 comments) SHARE Saturday, May 7, 2011 Transportation Challenges -- Roads vs Transit
Lack of car ownership and inadequate public transit service in many central cities and metropolitan regions exacerbate social, economic, and racial isolation--especially for low-income families and people of color residents who already have limited transportation options. Millions of Americans are left on the side of the road.
SHARE Monday, February 10, 2014 New Report Tracks Environmental Justice Movement Over Past 50 Years
On Tuesday February 11 groups from around the country will commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the historic Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898 signed by President Bill Clinton. As part of the 20-year anniversary, a team of researchers from Texas Southern University released “Environmental Justice Timeline and Milestones, 1964-2014,” a report that tracks the movement over the past five decades.
SHARE Saturday, April 23, 2011 BP Oil Waste Dumped in Environmental Justice Communities One Year Later
While the media devoted round the clock coverage of the capping and cleanup of the gian BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, not much attention was given to where the oil waste was being disposed. One year after the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, the lion's share of BP oil waste is still being dumped in environmental justice communities in the Gulf region.
SHARE Thursday, December 8, 2011 Moving Beyond Energy and Transportation Apartheid Through Climate Justice
Much attention in recent years has been devoted to green energy and reducing the human carbon footprint to counter the global warming and climate change. The two largest sources--electric power generations and transportation--account for nearly three-fourths (73.8 percent) of the CO2 emissions in the United States annually. Getting greenhouse gases and co-pollutants under control will benefit overburdened communities.
SHARE Tuesday, March 25, 2008 Dr. King's Legacy Four Decades After His Death in Memphis
This April 4th marks the fortieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis. Dr. King was called to the city in 1968 on behalf of striking garbage. Although Memphis was Dr. King's last campaign, his legacy lives on today in contemporary struggles to make African American and other communities of color healthier, greener, safer, more sustainable and more just.
(1 comments) SHARE Tuesday, February 19, 2019 Black History Month: Why African Americans Are Leading Fight for Environmental Justice
Millions of Americans have the "wrong complexion for protection." Race is still more potent than income in predicting the distribution of pollution and polluting facilities. America is segregated and so is pollution. African Americans for more than four decades have been at the forefront fighting for environmental, climate, economic, energy and racial justice in the United States.
SHARE Friday, February 3, 2012 Black History Month: Wrong Complexion for Protection When Disasters Strike
The new book, "Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response to Disaster Endangers African Americans," places the government response to natural and man-made disasters in historical context over the past eight decades, from the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Making disaster response equitable is a human rights issue.
SHARE Monday, January 13, 2014 MLK Day 2014: Service for Justice and Human Rights
The year 2014 has special meaning for justice in America. It represents some important milestones in our nation’s turbulent civil rights history, including the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme court decision, 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the 20th anniversary of the 1994 Environmental Justice Executive Order.
SHARE Friday, May 13, 2011 Public Health Benefits of Dethroning King Coal in the U.S.
More than $243 billion in new investments were made in clean energy in 2010. Yet, renewable energy made up only 10.6 percent of total electricity generation in 2009. Coal is still king, accounting for half of U.S. electricity generation in 2009. Coal is cheap. It is also dirty, polluting when it is mined, transported to the power plant, stored, and burned.
SHARE Wednesday, April 18, 2012 Earth Day 2012: Still Desperately Seeking Environmental Justice
The world is different this Earth Day than it was three decades ago when the Environmental Justice Movement was born. However, constrained funding has made it difficult for building organizational infrastructure, community organizing, leadership development and participating effectively in the policy arena. Clearly, much more is needed to ensure that all Americans enjoy healthy, livable and sustainable communities.
SHARE Wednesday, January 1, 2014 Make 2014 the Year of Environmental Justice Executive Order
This February 11, 2014, will mark the 20th anniversary of the historic Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898 signed by President Clinton. In celebrating this momentous event, groups and leaders from around the country are planning special commemoration activities in February and throughout the year.
SHARE Wednesday, September 16, 2009 New York Times Study Points to Failed EPA Regional Model
The recent New York Times headline “Toxic Waters - Clean Water Laws Are Neglected, at a Cost in Suffering” is clear evidence that the traditional enforcement role of U.S. EPA ten regions has been a dismal failure. Today, ten percent of Americans have been exposed to drinking water that contains dangerous chemicals. Fundamental change is needed in the regions to protect public health and the environment.
SHARE Wednesday, June 22, 2011 A 20-Point Plan to Shrink Black Atlanta
The 2010 census shows a steady exodus of blacks from Atlanta over the previous decade, with the black population falling by nearly 30,000 people. Twenty trends account for this smaller Black Atlanta footprint--with the impetus kicking off in the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.
SHARE Thursday, May 17, 2012 Texas Southern University Hosts Environmental Justice Encuentro May 17-19, 2012
The Environmental Justice Encuentro will be held on May 17-19, 2012 at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University in Houston. EJ leaders from across the South and Southwest will meet in Houston to map out strategies for building collaborations to achieve just, sustainable, livable healthy communities.
SHARE Tuesday, April 12, 2011 New Environmental Health and Racial Equity Book Out in Time for Earth Day 2011
Using more than four decades of lessons learned, "Environmental Health and Racial Equity" chronicles the major accomplishments and milestones of the environmental justice and health equity movement, program in academia, near and long-term needs and collaborative opportunities, and effective decision making models that employ a racial equity lens.
(1 comments) SHARE Thursday, May 26, 2011 Black Leaders Need to Weigh in on Theft of Black Health and Black Wealth from Pollution
Toxic racism has not only destroyed hard-working African American families' health but has also robbed them of their transformative wealth--wealth which resides largely in their homes and landholdings that could be past down to future generations. Toxic racism also adds to the widening wealth gap between blacks and whites. Currently, black wealth is less than 10 percent of white wealth.
SHARE Tuesday, September 4, 2007 EPA Urged to Strengthen Ozone Standards to Protect the Most Vulnerable
Air pollution threatens the health of millions of Americans, especially those who live in urban areas. EPA's current ozone standard is not adequate to protect human health. The agency should come clean and set tougher new ozone standards at the lowest level to protect the most vulnerable in our society, including children and the elderly.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, October 28, 2012 Kudos to the Principles of Environmental Justice for Framing EJ Movement
Twenty-one years ago history was made when the Principles of Environmental Justice were adopted on October 27, 1991 at the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, held in Washington, DC. The EJ Summit, attended by well over 1,000 delegates, laid the foundation for the national Environmental Justice Movement.
SHARE Wednesday, November 9, 2011 Why I Returned To Texas Southern University In Houston After All These Years
I recently rejoined the faculty at Texas Southern University in Houston as Dean of the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. My environmental justice career was launched at TSU in the later 1970s while conducting research and serving as an expert witness on the Bean v. Southwestern Waste Management, Corp. lawsuit, the nation's first lawsuit charging environmental discrimination using civil rights laws.
SHARE Thursday, February 13, 2014 Environmental Justice Leaders CelebrateTwentieth Anniversary of Executive Order 12898
It has now been twenty years since President Bill Clinton signed the Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898, "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations." The Executive Order has survived three presidents. Although it has never been fully implemented, there are some positive signs at the executive level that environmental justice is back on the federal radar.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, June 5, 2011 Atlanta's Proposed Transit Fare Hike Will Hit Poor and Blacks Hardest
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority Board (MARTA) will be considering raising the basic fare from $2 to $2.50. The regular one-way fare on MARTA is up from $1.00 in 1992. The Board will vote on the final budget on Monday June 6. If the proposed budget is approved, the fare increases would go into effect on October 2, 2011. They will hit Atlanta's poor, black, disabled, and transit dependent riders hardest.
(1 comments) SHARE Sunday, December 8, 2013 Houston Roundtable to Explore Climate Justice on December 13, 2013
How climate-ready is Houston's most vulnerable low-income and people of color communities? The roundtable focuses on the efforts Houston is making to become a more resilient, sustainable and environmentally just city in the face of extreme weather and other climate change impacts.
SHARE Wednesday, February 17, 2016 Help Make 2016 the Year of Justice: A Call for Environmental Justice Milestones
In 2016, we have an opportunity to commemorate and celebrate some important environmental justice milestones and work on finishing other struggles. The Flint water crisis unfolding today provides a textbook case for why we must build justice and equal protection into environmental decision making. It's time to stand with communities endangered by environmental injustice and the principle of profit over people.
SHARE Tuesday, June 19, 2012 Will the Principles of Environmental Justice Make Their Way Into Rio+20?
Over the next week more than 50,000 leaders from around the world are expected in Rio de Janeiro to attend the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. Will the world leaders take notice of the "Principles of Environmental Justice" first introduced 20 years ago at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit?
SHARE Wednesday, May 16, 2007 Burning Deadly Military Waste in Blacks Backyard
The incineration of the deadly nerve agent VX waste water in Port Arthur, Texas typifies the environmental justice challenges facing African Americans and other people of color communities detailed in the new "Toxic Wastes and Race at Twenty" report, released in March 2007. More than 1.8 million gallons of caustic VX hydrolysate waste water will be incinerated near the mostly black Carver Terrace housing project.
SHARE Saturday, November 13, 2010 Environmental Justice Groups Deliver "Call to Action" Plan to New EPA Region 4 Head
After meeting with Gwen Keyes Fleming on Wednesday November 10, more than three environmental justice, civil rights, faith, community based organizations, and leaders from polluted communities delivered an eleven-point "Call to Action" for Region 4 reform that demanded fundamental change, a new culture, and a new enforcement framework at EPA. The plan generally can be summarized in four words: transparency, accountability, ju