Racial Discrimination Found by EPA in Flint Power Plant

"This community of color on Flint's north side has lived in the incinerator's toxic shadow for decades, and the complaint was ignored until this year, when the agency finally issued a finding of discrimination on January 19th, the final day of the Obama administration." "State authorities treated African-American residents of Flint unfairly during the permitting of the Genesee Power Station, which is down the road from his church and burns wood waste and other debris." - Father Phil Schmitter, a longtime activist and pastor of Christ the King Catholic Church Flint has been in the national spotlight for the past few years due to the outrage of lead poisoned water that was ignored initially. Finally, federal funding and the water conditions seem to be improving.

However, now Flint will be in the spotlight again for another crisis related to a power plant. In 1994 he filed a complaint that described the inequality that the African Americans faced in this city. A power plant was built next to Carpenter Elementary School near Carpenter and Dort roads in Flint. Lead and other chemicals are emitted during the burning process, harming people in the neighborhood,There was environmental discrimination that occurred here with federal funding is what environmentalists and other community groups claim. The EPA is suppose to handle any complaints within 180 days. It has now been decades since this complaint has been filed and many of the original advocates have already passed away. The claim is that anything bad for the environment or an individual's health (specifically looking at this power plant) was placed in a lower income, non-white city.

In January of 2017 the EPA finally dismissed this complaint on Obama's last day of administration stating that, "None of the plaintiffs has legal standing to bring the suit in the first place because their alleged injuries were caused by state and local decisions and not by EPA actions." However, the EPA did find that Michigan Department of Environmental Quality had "engaged in discrimination involving the placement" of the Genesee Power Station in a majority black neighborhood. Although now the Michigan case has been resolved temporarily, it has caused outrage to environmentalists because the plant is still operational and it was not right for the EPA to ignore this claim for 25 years. They are now going to court hoping for a ruling that states the EPA misses civil complaints and needs more enforceability in order to make sure these complaints are being investigated properly and on time.

My question to the caucus is, "What do you believe should be done about this situation?"

Some follow up questions to promote discussion are:

Do you think the plant should be shut down now that it is proven to be negative to one's health?

What time of compensation, if any, should be given to Flint residents in this area?

Do you believe it should be shut down because of the racial discrimination that occurred in the first place?

Do you think it is unjust that the EPA now admits there is a problem, but denies responsibility?

*I have also included a study from the University of Michigan from December 2000 that finds this plant hazardous and recommends something be done about this situation. Why do you think it took 17 years for the complaint to gain recognition again?

Sources: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2017-03-15/environment/mi-power-plant-part-of-legal-battle-over-civil-rights/a56866-1

https://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2017/03/14/stories/1060051438

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/01/20/epa-backs-flint-residents-waging-bias-fight-over-dirt-spewing-plant/96854762/

http://umich.edu/~snre492/Jones/flint.htm

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