Tell EPA to Enforce Title VI

Waterkeeper Alliance and our partners in environmental justice are pushing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to properly investigate civil rights complaints and enforce the law.

In September of 2014, Waterkeeper Alliance, along with NC Environmental Justice Network and the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help, filed a complaint against NC Department of Environmental Quality for issuing a permit that allows for the operation of over 2,000 industrial hog facilities without adequate protections for African American, Latino and Native American populations that are disproportionately burdened in violation of Title VI. Nearly one year ago, EPA accepted our complaint for investigation, but that was six months after the agency's mandatory deadline to make that determination had passed.

EPA has habitually broken these required deadlines, allowed investigations of civil rights violations to drag out for 10 years or more, and has never made a formal finding of discrimination in the 22 years it has been investigating civil rights complaints. In light of this horrendous enforcement record, EPA has placed recent emphasis on issues of environmental justice and has promised reforms to Title VI enforcement. But instead of strengthening civil rights protections, EPA has proposed to eliminate deadlines for acting on complaints and further weaken the laws that would protect communities against environmental racism.

Will you join us in asking the EPA to strengthen, not weaken, civil rights protections?

It’s unacceptable that the racial composition of a community continues to be a critical factor in predicting exposure to toxic contamination.

Like all agencies of the federal government, the EPA has a responsibility to ensure that the states, local governments and private entities to which it awards grants and financial assistance don’t discriminate. This has been the law of the land since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The EPA’s record on civil rights enforcement is notoriously poor. We cannot allow these communities to wait any longer. It’s time for the agency to enforce the law.

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