Save Kettleman City, Stop Environmental Racism
On Saturday, June 18th a few RHHReporters joined almost two hundred people for a rally in Kettleman City to protest against environmental racism and the expansion of the West Coast’s largest hazardous-waste landfill operated by the Waste Management Corporation. Workers and students, children and elders of all colors carried signs & shouted slogans through the streets demanding justice for their community. Residents have blamed the Central California landfill for the community’s numerous infant deaths and birth defects including cleft palates and severe heart problems. Of course Waste Management officials deny there is any link between the dump and the deformities. Kettleman City is an impoverished farming town next to the West’s largest toxic waste dump. Its population of 1,712 is estimated to be 93% Latino.
Kings County supervisors approved the landfill expansion in December and environmental groups countered with a lawsuit to block those plans, alleging state civil rights violations and racial discrimination. The groups allege that Spanish speakers were discriminated against at hearings on Waste Management’s proposed expansion because they were only allowed 2 ½ minutes each to speak because their comments had to be translated, while English speakers each received a full 5 minutes. Also, documents on the proposed expansion were not translated into Spanish. In addition, Kettleman City residents felt intimidated by a heavy law-enforcement presence at hearings, they said. “We just felt that systematically there has been racism throughout the whole process,” said Maricela Mares-Alatorre, a Kettleman City resident and a member of People for Clean Air and Water. “We’re saying that the discrimination has to stop,” Ingrid Brostrom, attorney for the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment, said.
For more information contact El Pueblo and GreenAction (559) 583-0800 (415) 284-5600 http://greenaction.org
Stop the Chemical Waste Management Toxic Dump! No Avenal Power Plant! No More Birth Defects and Infant Deaths! No More Environmental Racism Against Our Communities!
Sponsored by: El Pueblo Para El Aire y Agua Limpio/People for Clean Air and Water * Kids Protecting Our Planet * Green Action for Health and Environmental Justice * Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment * Central California Environmental Justice Network * San Joaquin Valley Latino Environmental Advancement Project * Fresno Metro Ministry * Fresno Brown Berets