Protect Community Activists Who Expose EPA's Environmental Racism!

  • by: Susan V
  • recipient: EPA Office of Inspector General

A US Commission on Civil Rights report recently reprimanded the EPA "for failing in its duty to protect minority communities from so-called environmental racism." 

Allowing the dumping of tons of coal ash from Kingston Tennessee’s massive spill next to a poor, minority community in Alabama and EPA's refusal to respond appropriately to the community’s subsequent complaint is just one example of how EPA is failing to protect these minority communities.

Even worse, the case of Tennie White leads to suspicion that EPA has gone so far as to retaliate against an activist who exposed several examples of EPA racism.

In its report on White’s case, The Intercept tells how White, an environmental lab owner, had been on a mission to expose contamination in her home state of Mississippi, before EPA prosecuted and imprisoned her on charges of lying about one lab test, which, even if true, caused no harm to anyone. By contrast, EPA has allowed major polluters in MS get away with what amounts to murder.

Intercept says White had been "particularly vocal about protecting poor African-American communities.” Her research showed that EPA had responded to cleanups near predominantly white communities quickly, while ignoring serious pollution problems in mostly black communities for years. After she complained to the EPA Office of Inspector General, the FBI and the Department of Justice, the EPA denied any wrongdoing, and then went after her.

EPA's fraudulent denial of its failure to protect poor, minority communities from pollution is far worse than any fraud White may have committed. Sign this petition to call on EPA’s OIG to extend whistleblower protections to community activists exposing environmental racism.

To Arthur Elkins, Jr, at EPA Office of Inspector General:

BuzzFeed’s report on the US Commission on Civil Rights' reprimand of EPA confirms that EPA continues to deny, in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence, that it is failing minority communities. This leads to suspicion that EPA is silencing activists like Tennie White with accusations of fraud far less coincidental than the fraud being perpetrated by the EPA.

In order for the EPA to adequately and indiscriminately protect the American public, it must also protect those who are exposing pollution violations in their communities. To retaliate against whistleblowers who call EPA on its failures in this regard is beyond unacceptable.

EPA should apologize to Tennie White and pledge to protect whistleblowers like her who are working to protect the health of those living in their communities and their environment, especially the children she say are most harmed by this injustice.

Therefore I, the undersigned and those supporting this petition, call on the EPA OIG to extend whistleblower protections to community activists demanding EPA clean up its act in poor neighborhoods.

Thanks for your time.

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