Race to the Bottom
Feds Not Adequately Addressing Environmental Racism, Report Finds
Federal agencies are falling down on the job when it comes to making environmental justice part of their work, according to a report released this month by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. A 1994 executive order issued by President Clinton required the U.S. EPA and the departments of Transportation, Interior, and Housing and Urban Development to consider the effects on minority neighborhoods when determining where to site landfills and polluting facilities, but that order is routinely ignored, the commission found. Minority communities continue to suffer from disproportionate exposure to toxic sites, lead paint in homes, and other environmental hazards. In the U.S., race is a more significant predictor of exposure to environmental hazards than geography or income, according to studies cited in the commission’s report.