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Calling for an End to Industrial Development Posing Toxic Environmental Hazards and Contamination in Low Income Communities and Communities of Color

WHEREAS, socioeconomically deprived populations and rural areas are overwhelmingly disproportionately exposed to noise and toxic air, soil and water pollutants; and

WHEREAS, comprehensive research and numerous studies have shown that exposures to toxic environmental contaminants such as lead, arsenic, asbestos, carbon dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxides, and carbon monoxide are primarily responsible for disproportionate diseases and disabilities in low-income and/or racial and ethnic populations; and

WHEREAS, well-documented epidemiological studies, since the 1970's, have consistently shown that African Americans are disproportionately exposed to toxic ambient air quality and suffer from cognitive disabilities and serious illnesses, including a variety of major respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and increased asthma morbidity and mortality in United States; and

WHEREAS, chronic exposure to noise pollution has been linked to widespread sources of stress, discomfort, annoyance, long-term memory loss, reading deficits, sleep disturbance, impaired cognitive performance, hypertension, and the onset of cardiovascular diseases; and

WHEREAS, the prolific media coverage of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, a city with a 56.6% African-American population, chronicled how that the State government endangered the health and welfare of its residents by switching their water supply from Lake Huron to the highly corrosive, iron infested Flint River, in an emergency budget money savings scheme; and

WHEREAS, the water source switch was compounded by the unlawful failure to treat the Flint River water with an anti-corrosive agent; thus prompting iron to corrode the lead-built service lines, which caused toxic lead to begin leaching into the water supply; and

WHEREAS, while the cameras were fixated in Flint, on what was considered to be the most egregious environmental breach in recent history, another environmental catastrophe was unfolding in East Chicago, Indiana, a city with a demographic of 90% people of color and a 34% poverty rate; and

WHEREAS, in the West Calumet housing complex and surrounding East Chicago community, homes, churches, an elementary school and other public dwellings were constructed 40 years ago on the superfund site of former lead and arsenic plants, resulting in the toxic exposure to lead contamination in excess of 91,000 parts per million - over 227 times the acceptable Indiana standard of 400 ppm; while arsenic levels were around 567 ppm, which is much higher than the regulated limit at 26.4 ppm; and

WHEREAS, the proliferation of toxic industrial emissions which contaminated the air, soil and groundwater in the freed town settlement of Mossville, Louisiana, wreaked havoc on the lives of residents through the exposure of a vast array of deadly pollutants including dioxide and ethylene dichloride- ultimately eradicating the existence of this historic community; and

WHEREAS, the predominantly white, affluent residents of the Porter Ranch community of California, who suffered excruciating health concerns from exposure to noxious fumes from methane leaks, were afforded vastly differential treatment than those in the much poorer, mostly African-American town of Eight Mile, Alabama with identical symptoms from the exact same type of toxic exposure; and

WHEREAS, Flint, East Chicago, Mossville and Eight Mile are just a few of the mounting, heinous examples revealing how economic advancement has been and continues to be used to justify widespread industrial-generated environmental racism, which has contributed to deaths, moderate to severe mental and physical health deterioration, loss of culture, loss or decline in property values, forced migration, gentrification and numerous other environmental perpetrations on low-income and minority populations communities; and

WHEREAS, despite the staggering escalation and severity of environmental breaches, the Trump Administration callously slashed the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency and has vowed to dismantle existing regulations which safeguard the health and welfare of our nation.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") petitions the Trump Administration and the United States Congress to reverse the reckless budget cuts made to the Environmental Protection Agency and not only restore, but increase much-needed funding and widen the scope of its oversight/enforcement authority; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP calls upon President Donald J. Trump, the United States Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency, United States Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Defense, and Agriculture, and any and all pertinent federal and state regulatory and oversight agencies to establishment meaningful and viable contingency and compensatory remedies in mitigating damages caused to the properties subjected to toxic environmental annihilation, and also to prioritize the restoration of wellness and livelihood of the impacted populations, such as in East Chicago, IN; Flint, Ml; Eight Mile, AL; and other communities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP implores President Donald J. Trump, the United States Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a moratorium on permitting new industrial developments to be located within disadvantaged communities and conduct an extensive investigation and study of environmental hazards posed by existing industrial sites, especially including, but not limited to, those which are already located or are slated to be constructed in and around the areas of former hazardous manufacturing facilities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP encourages the Environmental Protection Agency to be proactive in identifying toxic areas for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to conduct ongoing toxicological testing of vulnerable communities living in close proximity of superfund sites, who are at high risk of contamination; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP advocates for federal, state and local governments to impose compensatory penalties commensurate with damages caused by industries responsible for malfunctions causing toxic releases as well as negligent, accumulated operational exposures; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the NAACP urges local zoning authorities, municipalities, state and federal regulatory and permitting agencies, including the United States Army Corps of Engineers, to end the sanctioning of predominate placement of toxic industrial developments in low-income communities and/or communities of color; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP supports environmentally responsible, safe economic developments which do not present noise, air, soil or water toxic contamination exposures to low-income communities and people of color and instead directly benefit vulnerable communities through Community Benefits Agreements to ensure the hiring and entrepreneurial advancement needed to enhance the quality of lives of low-income communities and communities of color.