Black & Latinx People Need NEPA…NO CAP!

Feb 26, 2020 | BM4F Spotlights, Uncategorized, Young, Gifted & Green Blog Series | 0 comments

On Tuesday, February 25, 2020, Black Millennials 4 Flint in solidarity with We Act for Environmental Justice testified before Trump’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) opposing the proposed rule changes for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). According to a resource from our partner We Act for Environmental Justice, NEPA has been called “the People’s Environmental Law.” Enacted in 1970, NEPA requires federal agencies to assess health and environmental concerns before launching a big project. By requiring agencies to look before they leap, NEPA gives communities a voice in the planning of highways, bridges, and pipelines. It prevents public-health disasters, saving lives and taxpayer dollars.

Review our statement presented to the CEQ:

We the people representing our sister cities Flint, MI, Memphis, TN, Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC are honored to speak with you today regarding the preservation of our democracy…protecting the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). I am a proud native and resident of Memphis, TN known for some of the world’s best barbecue and some of the most pervasive and lethal environmental justice issues. While many of us here today may be indifferent when we hear the words “Memphis Army Depot”, just the utterance of “The Depot” as we call it back home, causes black Memphians in particular to cringe. The Depot was designated as an official superfund site in 1992. This 632-acre area served as a dumping ground for the US military’s chemical weapons and other toxic materials since the 1940s [Reference]. I want to tell you a brief story today. Memphis Environmental Justice Heroine Mrs. Doris Bradshaw received a letter in the mail in 1994 implicating the dangers caused by the decades of pollution near The Depot. 3 months after receiving the letter, Mrs. Doris’ mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away shortly thereafter. Mrs. Doris’ mother joined hundreds of my ancestors whose lives were cut short from the plague of The Depot. It wasn’t until approximately the mid 90’s that the US Department of Defense finally cleaned up the cite…with the support of activists, mothers, daughters like Doris Bradshaw– the protection of NEPA helped Doris to stand on the frontlines as the Memphis Army Depot Officially closed in 1997 and her activism continues to protect the people–just like NEPA, the People’s Environmental Law. The impetus of this story is not to evoke sympathy, it is an example of triumph and an unrelenting desire for clean, toxic free communities, not just in Memphis, not just in Flint, MI, not just in Baltimore, MD, not just in DC, but for all of us. Working class people need more than 30 days to make public comment when federal projects that may cause harm attempts to invade our communities. My 84 year old grandmother needs educational awareness materials in hardcopy form paired with face-to-face interaction–our administration wishes to shift to more virtual engagement. Nuestra familia necesita informacion en Espanol. Our non-English speaking families need to be informed in their native tongue. We need to know the cumulative impact if my 7 year old goddaughter Alani is exposed to toxic projects executed by tax payer dollars. The NEPA we have used for decades requires it, but yet and still, the proposed new rules eliminates the mandates that currently require cumulative impact studies and analyses. We, the black and latinx millennial people, need you. Protect our democracy, protect our environment and protect NEPA.

CEQ requests public comment on the proposed rule. Submit comments on or before March 10, 2020. Comments can be submitted through the following methods:

Online or document upload: www.regulations.gov, docket number CEQ-2019-0003

By Fax: (202) 456-6546

By Mail: Council on Environmental Quality, 730 Jackson Place NW, Washington, DC, 20503, Attn: Docket No. CEQ-2019-0003

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