In March, thanks to the efforts of generations of activists in a long struggle, the closing of Detroit’s infamous incinerator was announced. Also in March, the city of Detroit revealed negotiations with Fiat Chrysler America (FCA) that paved the way for what will be the first new auto assembly plant in Detroit in decades. This project will bring more industrial development as suppliers move in to support FCA.
During the process mandated by the Community Benefits Ordinance, residents in the impact area clearly stated concern over the plants impact on their health. With support from the Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition and the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, residents began to learn and share more details about the impact of the expansion and the existing health issues many of us face. We learned that:
- The air pollution in the FCA Impact Area is comparable to and in some cases exceeds pollution around the Marathon site! http://ejscreen.epa.gov/mapper/index.html?wherestr=48215
- The population of the FCA Impact Area has some of the highest Asthma hospitalization rates in the city! http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdhhs/Detroit-AsthmaBurden_516668_7.pdf
- In 2016, FCA’s Jefferson North nearly doubled the tons of VOC produced by Marathon Petroleum!
- Most importantly, we learned the project will increase emissions in our 94% black community with high poverty and asthma rates while reducing emissions coming out of a suburban plant.– This is textbook environmental racism. http://greenaction.org/what-is-environmental-justice/
In an unprecedented move, the State’s Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE, formerly MDEQ) permit approval requires FCA create a plan for additional monitoring and “community benefits” to address environmental health issues passionately raised by residents at the public hearing. FCA has been given 180 days (October 26, 2019) to create the plan. This is a major win for residents that certainly reflects the long-term struggle for environmental justice for black and brown communities in Detroit.
Residents that attended the EGLE public hearing have been meeting since. We have been conducting Environmental Health Surveys to learn more about resident needs, and want residents to be included in FCA’s plans for our future.
Join us Wednesday, July 17th at Wayne County Community College, East for an Environmental Health Info and Strategy Session. We will serve dinner at 6 pm and our discussion will begin at 6:30 pm. We have invited by a few trusted experts who will help us to learn more about our environment. We’ll also hear from advocates and activist who have been part of the environmental justice movement in Detroit for years. While this gathering will have emphasis on new industrial development on the Eastside, we encourage Detroiters from across the city to join us.
Environmental Health Info and Strategy Session
Wednesday, July 17th 6 – 8 pm
Wayne County Community College, Eastern Campus
5901 Conner St, Detroit, MI 48213
Cooper Room, Free and Secure Parking
The event is FREE. Diner will be served at 6pm with the program beginning at 6:30pm
Eastside Resident Environmental Health Working Group