WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has long recognized that a healthy environment is part of the civil rights struggle because pollution disproportionately impacts the minority, poor, and those with highest health risks; and
WHEREAS, many units, including The Nashville Branch of the NAACP have worked for years to identify issues of environmental injustice created by state and local environmental policies; and
WHEREAS, elderly, poor and minority in Tennessee, Appalachia , the deep south, on the lower Mississippi River, and the southern plains are the only populations in the world which are experiencing a decreasing life span; [The Reversal of Fortunes: Trends in County Mortality and Cross-Country Mortality Disparities in the United States-April, 2008 PLoS Medicine]; and
WHEREAS, land filling solid waste is costly to local governments and business; for example, the cost is $350 million a year in Tennessee alone; and
WHEREAS, materials in solid waste include food waste (12%), yard waste (13%), paper/paperboard (36%), construction waste (15%), and metal (9%); and solid waste can be used as raw material in business and compost to create jobs and enhance small businesses [Institute for Local Self Reliance – (www.ilsr.org)] for example; if food and yard waste are composted rather than landfill, it will create jobs and high quality compost and would be the equivalent of closing 20% of coal powered plants in terms of eliminating green house gasses [Cool2010 – http://www.cool2012.com/cool/]; and
WHEREAS, a practical strategy for solid waste reform, is to seek funding and research grants for Historically Black Universities and Colleges: for example, Tennessee State University has twice been funded by Tennessee General Assembly to research diversion of solid waste from landfills; and
WHEREAS, most states including Tennessee have developed solid waste regulations that are biased toward land filling solid waste rather than composing and recycling it.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People oppose the enactment of proposed solid waste regulations which do not promote use of solid waste as a raw material in business; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People urges every state as well as local and federal officials to support funding HBCUs to develop methods to divert solid waste from landfills to be used as raw material for business and compost and job creation; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People urges full recognition and resolution of environmental injustice so often found in state solid waste policies.