Event Highlights Local Environmental Justice Concerns

by Erica Peterson on August 12, 2011

Tomorrow, residents of west and southwest Louisville will hold an environmental justice fair at Chickasaw Park. Dubbed “People Not Poisons,” the organizers are trying to call attention to the large concentration of chemical and power plants in their neighborhoods, which are mostly African-American or white working class.

Michele Roberts will speak at the event. She’s the campaign and policy manager for the non-profit Advocates for Human Rights. She says in most cases, communities were well-established before industries moved in. And throughout much of the twentieth-century, segregation played a role in land use planning.

“The land use planning laws were dictated by the politics of the time,” Roberts said. “In the case of Louisville, the chemical plants came after the communities were located there. And they clustered themselves.”

Roberts added that there’s no need to keep using these hazardous materials when there are alternatives

“We do not need these toxic chemicals in our air, water, soil,” she said. “And also, our Department of Health, our Department of Justice, they all play a role in the way in which our chemical policies, our environmental policies, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.”

People Not Poisons is tomorrow from 1 to 5 pm in the Chickasaw Park Lodge.

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