Environmental Justice

The siting of nuclear facilities - whether uranium mines, waste dumps, enrichment plants or other radioactivity-emitting operations - invariably occurs in communities of color and/or low-income. This consistent environmental racism is not unique to the nuclear industry but is a pattern that Beyond Nuclear is working to end.



3rd Annual Protect the Earth Great Lakes Community Gathering, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, July 30-August 1

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps helped lead the nuclear power and uranium mining workshops at the 1st (2008) and 2nd (2009) annual "Protect the Earth" gatherings held at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. These events were devoted to stopping metallic sulfide and uranium mining throughout Michigan's Upper Peninsula, particularly at the sacred Ojibwe "Eagle Rock" site on the Yellow Dog Plains near Lake Superior. Save the Wild U.P., one of the annual gathering's sponsors, has an excellent map showing the location of this Kennecot "Eagle Project," numerous other metallic sulfide mining proposals, and three known uranium mining proposals. Uranium mining is unprecedented in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, although it has already devastated Ojibwe lands at Elliot Lake, Ontario to the east, as described in the book of Serpent River First Nation testimonials edited by Lorraine Rekmans and Anabel Dwyer, and as depicted in an iconic photo by Robert Del Tredichi showing a wall of uranium tailings, visible behind the trees -- radioactive waste from the Stanrock mill near Elliot Lake, Ontario.

At the June 2010 Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Wisconsin, Kevin also met with Gabriel Caplett and Teresa Bertossi, editors of Headwaters: Citizen Journalism for the Great Lakes. Along with youth from the Keewenaw Bay Indian Community who had recently been arrested trying to defend Eagle Rock from bulldozers, Gabriel and Teresa gave an emergency presentation at Wisconsin's Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free networking caucus about the imminent mining threat at the sacred site. Hence the urgency of this year's 3rd annual Protect the Earth Great Lakes Community Gathering.

Check out this year's beautiful poster. This year's event will feature Ojibwe environmental justice activist Winona "No Nukes" LaDuke as keynote speaker, and renowned Native American musician Joanne Shenandoah. See the text of the email announcement just sent to Beyond Nuclear here.


The jobs scam - selling blacks on nuclear power

Glen Ford, a co-founder of the Black Agenda Report - writes about the deliberate efforts by the nuclear power industry to build new reactors in poor black communities desperate for jobs. As Ford points out, "corporate promoters are already re-reving their propaganda machines to sell Blacks on nuclear power with the same jobs-creaation argument they pushed three decades ago. Nuclear companies have been flying Black and brown delegations to visit happy neighborhoods around power plants in France." Ford, the godfather of black journalism, recalls how 30 years ago Westinghouse advertised on a syndicated television news interview program he then co-owned and hosted called America's Black Forum, believing that "jobs-hungry Black folks would serve as a counter-point to the long-haired white kids and tree-huggers that the media caricatured as the core of the environmental movement".


Bruce Dixon questions environmental racism of new Georgia reactors

Bruce Dixon, co-founder of the Black Agenda Report, has an excellent article on the Huffington Post as well as the BAR Web site regarding the decision to award the first $8 billion in federal loan guarantees to the construction of two new reactors in a poor black community in Georgia that does not want the plant. As Dixon notes: "The Obama administration likes to call it "safe nuclear energy," often in the same breath as "clean coal." Both are colossal and equally transparent lies." And putting the lie to the nukes-will-bring-you-wealth myth, Dixon writes: "If leaky civilian and military nukes really are the job-creating answers to poverty, shouldn't Burke County, GA be one of the wealthiest, instead of the poorest places east of the Mississippi 25 years after its first civilian nukes, and six decades after neighboring towns, some of them all black on the South Carolina side of the river, were bulldozed to create the Savannah River nuclear weapons facility?" 

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