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Washington, D.C., November 20, 2009:
Minister Robert Campbell, long-time Chapel Hill, North Carolina activist for social and environmental justice, visited the White House on Friday, Nov. 20th, to speak to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about issues in the Rogers-Eubanks community related to clean energy and public health.
He was invited to join this distinguished group in a White House briefing on the public health benefits of a clean energy economy. This event brought together public health advocates and community leaders, experts from U.S. agencies and universities, and White House officials for a discussion on the lasting public health benefits of a clean energy economy.
After his participation, Minister Campbell said, “This was a great honor and privilege, to be able to tell the story of the Rogers-Eubanks community, to have our voice heard on a national level. We are concerned about our drinking water and our health and the fact that we are bordered by solid waste facilities. This is not just something for our community, but a national issue: the quality of life and health as we move into a clean energy future. It is imperative not to stand at the doors of injustice, but to open the doors and enter. We must be the bold voice and speak out against injustice for those who have no voice.”
UNC Kellogg Health Scholar-Community Track, Chris Heaney, who has developed a CBPR project to investigate residents’ concerns related to air and water contamination, accompanied Minister Campbell on his trip and said, “witnessing him take steps up the West Wing of the White House Executive Office Building was inspirational–knowing he was carrying with him the results of community-based participatory research that supported many of the community’s concerns with water and air quality, and would be able to share them with the highest level of our nation’s public health leadership.”
Minister Campbell participated in a breakout session with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas R. Frieden and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Director, Linda Birnbaum. He left behind a 50 page briefing document detailing concerns about landfills, industrial agriculture and livestock operations, and the lack of safe drinking water and sewer services in marginalized, underserved communities of color. He also gave White House Office of Public Engagement Associate Director, Greg Nelson, EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, and Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius signed copies of the history book, Rogers Road, a CBPR project with UNC Health Behavior and Health Education Ph.D. student, Emily Eidenier.
After returning to Chapel Hill, Minister Campbell said he is, “focused on following-up with a new network of contacts and pursuing opportunities to improve the health and well-being of residents of the Rogers-Eubanks community.” Minister Campbell presently serves as a member of the deacon board at the Faith Tabernacle Oasis of Love International Church and is President of the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association (RENA), co-founder and co-chair of the Coalition to End Environmental Racism (CEER;http://rogersroad.wordpress.com), and 3rd Vice President and Head of the Environmental Justice Committee of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro NAACP. He is also a Board Member of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network and community research associate in partnership with the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. (Download and read Min. Campbell’s White House Briefing Document here)
By Taylor Sisk, Staff Writer
The Carrboro Citizen
Though the Orange County Board of Commissioners isn’t scheduled to vote on the county’s future solid-waste disposal options until its Dec. 7 meeting, commissioners heard plenty about one of those options at Tuesday night’s meeting.
The majority of the approximately 125 people who filled the Southern Human Services Center meeting room were present to weigh in on a proposed transfer station, and the better part of the hour allotted for public comment on non-agenda items was filled with the voices of those opposed to locating the station on Millhouse Road.
The commission will vote on whether to place a transfer station on this county-owned property (called the Paydarfar site after its previous owner) or on a previously approved site off N.C. 54 near Orange Grove Road, or to pursue a deal with Durham County to use its transfer facility.
Most of the 10 speakers expressed dismay, some anger, that a site in such close proximity (a half mile) to the landfill would be considered, given that the Rogers-Eubanks roads community, adjacent to the landfill, has endured the ill effects of the greater community’s solid-waste burden for nearly 40 years.
An appeal for public support and action
For nearly 150 years, African-American families have lived in what is now known as the Rogers-Eubanks Community in Orange County, NC, just north of Chapel Hill and Carrboro. In 1972, Chapel Hill established an unlined landfill in the community, despite residents’ protests. The landfill was supposed to be closed 10 years later, but instead, it has expanded to include two municipal waste landfills, two construction and demolition/industrial landfills, a leachate pond, a hazardous waste collection site, a materials recovery facility, facilities for mulching yard and clean wood waste, and facilities for managing scrap tires, old appliances, scrap metal, and salvaged construction materials.
The currently used municipal waste landfill will reach capacity in 2012, and the Orange County Commissioners are strongly considering further expansion of the landfill property by siting a waste transfer station on a 10-acre site on Millhouse Road. This site is immediately adjacent to the old landfill.
The commissioners are scheduled to make their decision on Dec. 7, 2009, and the Rogers-Eubanks Community needs your help! Please show your support by writing letters to the editors of our local papers and by contacting public officials and the Orange County Commissioners (contact information is below).
There are better, more responsible ways for us to handle our garbage, and they don’t involve dumping on the neighborhood that has lived with Orange County’s trash for 37 years.
The following talking points may be useful in developing your letters:
- The appearance of Millhouse Road as a potential site for a transfer station entirely bypasses the commissioners’ own 2-year search process, including all of the careful search criteria that were established to include not only cost, but also social justice and environmental concerns. Originally, only 25-acre sites were considered. If 10-acre sites are suddenly now acceptable, then all possible 10-acre sites in the county need to be considered in a transparent, systematic process.
- Although a waste transfer station is not a landfill, it still comes with negative impacts on its neighbors, including noise and air pollution, heavy truck traffic, vermin, and the possibility of water contamination. Additional truck traffic is incompatible with the surrounding roads and nearby schools, including the Emerson Waldorf School, Morris Grove Elementary School, and the middle school that is planned for Eubanks Rd.
- The site on Millhouse was originally sold to the county with the understanding that it would be used as parkland, and it is contiguous with other county property that is designated for future use as soccer fields. The small size of the properties makes any sort of buffer between the proposed transfer station traffic and the soccer fields impossible.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifically warns against clustering of facilities with potential negative impacts on the surrounding community. Residents surrounding the current landfill have already endured nearly four decades of “hosting” several landfills, along with other negative-impact facilities, including the recycling center, the county’s animal shelter, new offices for the Solid Waste Department, and the Chapel Hill Town Operations Center.
- Whether or not Orange County considers the Millhouse site technically within the Rogers-Eubanks community boundaries, it is undeniable that the traffic, noise, impact on property values, and other problems associated with a waste transfer station on Millhouse will powerfully and negatively affect the Rogers-Eubanks Community. The Millhouse site is literally an extension of the landfill property. The commissioners are trying to use a technicality to get out of their pledges and their predecessor’s pledges to not site a waste transfer station in the community.
- A waste transfer station on Millhouse will not necessarily lead to money for the public services needed by the Rogers-Eubanks residents, and indeed, these services should in no way be tied to whether or not a transfer station is sited in their community. The health of their community is not for sale.
Again, we ask that you please show your support by writing letters to the editors of our local papers and by contacting each of the Orange County Commissioners.
Contact information for the County Commissioners and the local papers:
Letters can be submitted electronically to the commissioners at the following Orange County website: http://www.co.orange.nc.us/contact.asp#bocc
In addition, you can write or call the commissioners at:
Foushee, Valerie P. (Chair)
106 Claris Court, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27514
(H) 942-2661 (F) 933-3203
Nelson, Mike (Vice-Chair)
214 Webb St., Hillsborough, N.C. 27278
282 Edgewood Dr., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517
(H) 933-0550 (F) 967-3823
407 Sharon Rd., Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517
2105 Moorefields Rd., Hillsborough, N.C. 27278
(H) 732-4384 (W) 732-4941 (F) 732-4486
4516 Mystic Lane, Hillsborough, N.C. 27278
710 Ridgelift Lane, Hillsborough, N.C. 27278
(H) 732-4364 (W) 732-6262
Contact information for the local papers:
The Carrboro Citizen
Letters should be no more than 325 words in length.
E-mailed letters are preferred at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please include your name, address and contact and information. Only your name and town will be printed.
Chapel Hill Herald-Sun
The Herald-Sun welcomes letters to the editor, but asks that writers follow a few guidelines.
· Limit your letter to 250 words or fewer.
· Include a daytime phone number and e-mail address.
· Include your full name and home address. Only your name and town will be published. Anonymous letters will not be published.
· Letters can be submitted directly online at http://www.heraldsun.com/pages/letter_submit .
If you prefer not to use the online form, you can send an e-mail with all the requested information directly to email@example.com .
Chapel Hill News
Letters should be limited to 300 words.
E-mail letters to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include your name, address and phone number. Only your name and town will be printed.
Daily Tar Heel
Use the online form at http://www.dailytarheel.com/submit-letter to submit a letter to the editor. The Daily Tar Heel edits for space, clarity, accuracy and vulgarity. Limit letters to 250 words.
The Indy will only print letters in response to articles they have published. Please reference the Indy’s past coverage of the Waste Transfer Station in your intro to the editor.
Send no more than 300 words to email@example.com . Include your name and town for publication and your phone number for verification, and put “Back Talk” in the subject line. The Indy reserves the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity. Back Talk is strictly limited to feedback about Independent articles. The deadline is Monday at 9 a.m. for the upcoming Wednesday’s issue.
The Carolina Times
Send letters (Up to 500 words) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline is 5 pm Monday for Thursday publication .
Must have contacts telephone number and address, which will not be published.
By Gregory Childress
Chapel Hill — A public hearing on Monday moved the Town Council a step closer to adopting the long-awaited Rogers Road Small Area Plan to guide growth and development in the predominately African-American community.
But even so, officials acknowledged that the town is no nearer to identifying a designated source of funding to implement the plan that calls for, among other things, extending municipal water and sewer to the area than when the task force was formed in December 2006.
When asked about money to pay for the projects recommended by the task force, David Bonk, the town’s long range and transportation manager, said public funds would be used for some such projects as the water and sewer extension, and private money would be brought to the area via new development.
Rogers Road residents protest waste sites
Joe Woodruff, Sr. Writer – The Daily Tar Heel
The Orange County Board of Commissioners convened Tuesday before a full meeting hall. Audience members, many of them residents of the historic Rogers Road community, raised signs into the air, sheets of paper bearing a simple message.
They read: “No waste transfer station on Millhouse Road, 37 years of Orange County’s trash is enough!”
At the meeting, commissioners approved a county health department survey of Rogers Road well and septic systems, in partnership with the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association and Engineers Without Borders. (read the full story here)
White House officials have noticed Rogers Road.
The people of the historically black and low-income community just north of Chapel Hill have for years reached out to local leaders to tell of their struggle with air and water quality after a landfill was placed there in 1972.
On Friday, Rev. Robert Campbell will go to the White House to tell that story to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
EPA officials were interested after Rogers Road was discussed at the N.C. Environmental Justice summit in October, said David Caldwell, project manager for the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association.
“The neighborhood is buzzing. People around town are talking,” Caldwell said. “You’ve got an organization that has complained and brought concerns to so many people for so many years and you feel like it’s gone on deaf ears.
“But all of the sudden it’s gone to the highest level of authority.”
Campbell to discuss problems concerning clean energy, public health
By Dan E. Way
CHAPEL HILL — One of the town’s leading activists for environmental justice in the Rogers Road community has been invited to the Obama Administration’s green energy table, and he’s hoping to come back from Washington later this week with a commitment for federal stimulus money to clean up long-standing water and air quality issues in his neighborhood.
“I guess all that noise we’ve been making, somebody listened,” the Rev. Robert Campbell said Saturday. He will be at the White House on Friday to speak to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about issues in the Rogers-Eubanks roads community related to clean energy and public health.
Chapel Hill, November 13, 2009:
Minister Robert Campbell, long-time Chapel Hill activist for Social and Environmental Justice, has been invited to the White House on Friday, Nov. 20th, to speak to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about issues in the Rogers-Eubanks community related to clean energy and public health.
He has been invited to join this distinguished panel in a White House briefing on the public health benefits of a clean energy economy. This event will bring together public health advocates and community leaders, experts from U.S. agencies, and White House officials for a discussion on the lasting public health benefits of a clean energy economy.
In reacting to the invitation, Minister Campbell said, “This is a great honor and privilege, to be able to tell the story of the Rogers-Eubanks community, to have our voice heard on a national level. We are concerned about our drinking water and our health and the fact that we are bordered on both sides by solid waste facilities. This is not just something for our community, but a national issue: the quality of life and health as we move into a clean energy future. It is imperative not to stand at the doors of injustice, but to open the doors and enter. We must be the bold voice and speak out against injustice for those that have no voice.”
Minister Campbell presently serves as a member of the deacon board at the Faith Tabernacle Oasis of Love International Church and is President of the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association (RENA), co-founder and co-chair of the Coalition to End Environmental Racism (CEER; http://rogersroad.wordpress.com), and 3rd Vice President and Head of the Environmental Justice Committee of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro NAACP. He is also a Board Member of the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network and community research associate in partnership with the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.