Steps toward retribution

Last December, Michigan took a step towards justice when Governor Granholm finally signed an executive directive calling for the recognition and incorporation of environmental justice in state policy.  This victory came after launching a three-year long campaign involving a coalition of community groups, businesses, public health organizations and environmental non-profits in Detroit.  Other states, like California, New York and New Mexico have already established such policy precedents.

As the former coordinator of this campaign, I had left Michigan to attend graduate school, but I’m thrilled that the coalition’s hard work has finally paid off.  Significantly, the campaign has brought a wider coalition of environmental justice advocates around the state, highlighting major groundwork in Saginaw, Michigan, particularly Saginaw’s urban neighborhoods that have been poisoned by dioxin and other contaminants from Dow Chemical.

Perhaps Michigan is coming back on track on the environmental justice front.  Having been a major player in the beginnings of the EJ movement, this executive directive could signify the opportunity for a new wave of energy to create more livable, sustainable and just communities.

Another significant victory in the environmental justice movement took place today at the announcement of WR Grace’s announcement to pay $250 million to clean up their asbestos scandal in Libby, Montana.


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