First, thanks to dozens of groups for signing on to the letter to DTSC demanding they deny the permits to expand the Chem Waste toxic dump.
If your group has not yet signed on, please email [Bradley Angel–see below] a sign on with your name, title, group name, city/town.
Last night, El Pueblo of Kettleman City was joined by Greenaction, CCEJN, CRPE, the Fresno Brown Berets and the Mexican American Political Association/MAPA in a successful press conference and “truth squad” action that ended up essentially taking over the government agency “open house” on the proposed dump expansion.
Following the well-attended press conference, we entered the “open house” to see dozens of state agency representatives nervously awaiting our arrival….they had “information” tables with “information” displays and “fact” sheets that were often inaccurate, misleading and omitting key information. Particularly outrageous was that none of their dozens of handouts had one word about all the violations that Chem Waste has been busted for.
Residents and supporters pulled chairs out and forced the state and the manager of the toxic waste dump to be put on the hot seat and challenged them for an hour by irate residents as television cameras rolled.
The state had to apologize for not having prepared information on the countless violations and we made them read the list of violations in Spanish.
State officials including Cal EPA’s Assistant Secretary for Environmental Justice were challenged over these issues as well as the pitiful and polluter-friendly “Environmental Justice Review” that was done to promote dumping more toxic waste in Kettleman City.
DTSC’s Director Debbie Raphael of course did not have the courage or integrity to attend, and I am sure she did not want to face the people as she has broken her promise she made during her state senate confirmation hearing that DTSC would do a full cumulative impact analysis as part of the permit process.
The state also had to apologize for failing to provide notice of the meetings and public comment period to numerous people on their mandatory contact list, and we’ve been informed they will be extending the comment period until early October.
So last night was a victory for environmental justice, but the main battle to stop the expansion of this violation-plagued toxic dump is heating up and everyone’s help is needed to help the people of Kettleman City stop this dump expansion. Stay tuned for announcements of upcoming actions in support of Kettleman City and all communities fighting for health and justice.
Greenaction for Health and Environmental Jusice