In the South, low-income, black citizens are becoming more outspoken and effective as they fight the construction of landfills, polluting factories, and other environmentally hazardous facilities in their communities, and they’re increasingly being joined by neighbors of all colors. “Companies now don’t just bully in,” said Robert Bullard, a sociology professor at Clark Atlanta University who has studied environmental racism. “When they do, they’re in for a rude awakening.” Companies often argue that their proposed plants and incinerators would create jobs, but even in economically depressed areas, many citizens aren’t willing to overlook the pollution that these developments bring to their water, air, and land. In rural Lowndes County in Alabama, national civil rights leaders have joined locals in crying out against plans for a landfill near the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail. “Twelve jobs — come on. Twelve jobs for a dump on the … historic civil rights trail,” said community leader Barbara Evans, dismissing the small economic boost the landfill would bring.
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