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E-M:/ Attacks on Environmental Justice - ACCESS responds

Enviro-Mich message from "RASHID BARKAJI" <ACCESS-COM@worldnet.att.net>

The recent series of Detroit News articles by David Mastio and others
attacking the EPA and environmental justice, are examples of journalism at
its worst. Mastio doesn't let facts stand in the way of his mission, which
seems to be to show that environmental justice policies intended to protect
the most vulnerable communities from environmental hazards, are going to be
bad for business, creating endless delays in permitting and putting people
out of work. He never deals with the fact that environmental justice exists
because people are sick of environmental degradation of their communities. 

In his most recent article, Mastio attempts to make the case that
environmental justice is a campaign created by the EPA to "stir up"
interest in local communities which will then support the EPA's efforts to
further restrict and regulate industry. In the process, Mastio unfairly
attacks the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services
(ACCESS), a reciepient of EPA Environmental Justice Funds. This latest
article is at:  http://detnews.com/1998/metro/9806/05/06050140.htm

Despite what the article states, Mastio did not interview myself or anyone
at ACCESS about our environmental work or EPA funding for this story. (I
had declined comment on a previous story he was doing because of the
newspaper strike/lockout). Nor apparently did he interview anyone from the
U.S. EPA. However, he did quote from the Brookings Institute and the
Competitive Enterprise Institute. After checking out their web sites, it is
obvious that the attacks on environmental justice are much larger than one
reporter with an agenda. For example, check out what Charles Foreman of the
Brookings Institute has to say about environmental justice in his op-ed
"Down in the Dumps -- On Purpose": 

Anyone who is truly interested in protecting communities from industrial
hazards should be concerned about this campaign against environmental
justice.  Environmental justice isn't about some bizarre desire to drive
jobs from our communities (heaven knows we need more!). It's about the need
to protect the lives and health of human beings and other living things,
and our land, air and water. Why should SOME communities have to chose
between a clean environment and jobs? We need to do more to get the message
out that environmental justice is the legitimate struggle of communities
that have too long borne the burden of industrial waste in our society.

Kathryn Savoie
Environmental Program Director 
Arab Community Center for Economic & Social Services
2651 Saulino Court, Dearborn MI 48120
313-842-7010 (phone), 313-842-5150 (fax)
e-mail: ACCESS-COM@worldnet.att.net  


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