By Lissa Jones
Proposals are currently under consideration to significantly increase emissions from Minneapolis polluters that have a disproportionate impact on low-income communities of color such as those in Phillips and on the North Side. On April 3, several community organizations sponsored a “Reality Check” on air and water pollution at Kwanzaa Community Church to discuss the potential impact of the proposed increases on the health of these neighborhoods and the people who live there. The event flyer invited the community to “hear about the status of Northern Metals and HERC (the garbage burner) in North Minneapolis and how their emissions may impact your health.” About 25 people were in attendance, including State Representatives Karen Clark and Joe Mullery, as the panel presented their findings and concerns to the group.
The panelists were Jeff Skrenes of the Hawthorne Community Council; Lea Foushee, environmental justice director with the North American Water Office, a nonprofit organization chartered in 1982 to educate people about solutions to environmental problems; Lara Norkus-Crampton, a nurse, garbage burner activist, and former planning commissioner for the City of Minneapolis; and Beverly Propes, a public health nurse. Their presentations covered the status of the legal work on Northern Metals; examined the correlation between the pollution emissions and health outcomes for children attending school in the affected neighborhoods; reviewed studies from across the world detailing the health effects of pollution emissions on communities with incinerators; and looking at alternative solutions through the lens of a community organizer. Continue Reading →