Last week, the Steps Coalition, a grass roots social justice organization in Biloxi, Mississippi and member of the Moving Forward Network, hosted two bus tours of Environmental Justice communities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The tours, held on the last day of the Gulfport meeting of the EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), demonstrated the extent to which minority communities bear the brunt of air and water pollution and health effects from freight transportation, petrochemical plants, and other polluting activities.
Tour guides included Howard Page and Jennifer Crosslin, Steps Coalition community organizers, and Derrick Evans, director of Turkey Creek Community Initiatives.
Tour participants included community residents and NEJAC and Moving Forward Network members from across the country.The first tour took us to the site of the planned expansion of the Port of Gulfport and a proposed 435 acre wetland fill for an intermodal facility and truck route that threatens the Turkey Creek neighborhood and other communities. For more information on Turkey Creek and its environmental justice challenges, check out the New Republic article, After the Deluge – Building climate justice from the wreckage of Hurricane Katrina.
The second tour was of a large industrial area in Pascagoula and a fenceline community struggling with severe air pollution. To learn more about the Cherokee Subdivision and the environmental injustice imposed on them, read Residents Near Bayou Casotte Industrial Complex in Pascagoula Want to Know What They’re Breathing and Let’s Help Pascagoula Citizens Fight For Clean Air.
The tours were followed by an evening together at a local restaurant. It was a pleasure to get to know each other better!
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