Trucks Must Not Pass

Environmental Injustice in Chester Pennsylvania: 

Chester Pennsylvania, located in Delaware County, is a small town, in which 65 percent of are African American.  Delaware County as a whole however, is only 6.2 percent African American. [1] Overall Chester is a very impoverished town, with a 25 percent poverty rate.[2] Seven commercial waste facilities have been implemented in Chester between 1986 and 1990.[3]  The LCA Leasing Corporation began dumping hundreds of truckloads into Chester each and every day in 1987.[4] Soon after, Abbonizio Recycling Company, DELCORA Sewage Waste Treatment Facility, and Westinghouse Resource Recovery Facility (an incinerator) were implemented in Chester. [5] This incinerator would burned ,more than 2,000 tons of trash each day.[6]

The map below of Delaware County, allows people to visualize this environmental injustice in Chester Pennsylvania. The red circles on the map represent large clusters of industrial waste facilities and the dark green represents areas where the majority ethnicity is African American. Therefore this map allows us viewers to recognize that almost all of the red circles are in communities with  large populations of colored individuals.

chester

Map of Relationship between Waste Disposal Sites and Race Photo Credit: http://searchfiletype.com/Environmental-Injustice-in-Delaware-County-PA-fs195838.html

The Movement: In 1992, a public meeting occurred to discuss the health related concerns of living in Chester PA. In response to residents’ concerns, industry stated that “Do you think your government would do something wrong to you? Do you think we would allow this facility if it did not meet all the regulations”.[7] Appalled to this response, resident Zulene Mayfield stood up, and uttered, “I can’t understand why you bright, college-educated people can’t come up with a better lie. We are people from probably the worst school district in the state and we can see and understand these lies”.[8]

Trucks Must Not Pass: As a result of their anger, Chester residents joined together, and created a group known as, “Chester Residents Concerned about Quality of Life (CRCQL).[9] After continuously being lied to and undermined by local government and industry, residents gathered in Chester streets on December 22, 1992, to physically stop trucks carrying waste into the Westington Facility, which is demonstrated in the quick clip below.[10] To the towns disbelief, Westington responded by simply building another road to allow the transport of waste into Chester.[11]

Chester Residents Revolt; Play Video till :51 Video Credit: Youtube: R. Bahar & G. McCollough

Sadly, in 1993 Delaware Country proposed the building of an additional waste treatment facility in Chester.[12] CRCQL revolted by starting a petition in opposition, and received 500 signatures. [13] The town soon discovered an additional way to stop the implementation of a waste treatment facility. Chester residents argued that the permit infringed upon the Pennsylvania Infectious and Chemotherapeutic Waste Disposal Act (Disposal Act).[14] In other words, Chester was producing more waste, an outstanding 13,335 tons of infectious waste per year, than what was legally allowed, which was 10,765 tons of infectious waste per year.[15] However, again the CRCQL was shut down, when in 1994, the Environmental Hearing Board dismissed the CRCQl’s claims. The CRCQL did not give up, and appealed the decision to Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. [16] Finally in 1995, the Commonwealth Court agreed with Chester residents and denied the permission to implement of an additional waste treatment facility.[17]

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 34.

[2] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 34.

[3] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 34-35.

[4] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 35-36.

[5] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 35-37.

[6] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 35-37.

[7] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 40.

[8] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 40.

[9] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 40.

[10] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 40-42.

[11] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 42.

[12] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 42.

[12] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 43.

[14] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 44-45.

[15] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 44-45.

[16] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 44-45.

[17] Luke W.Cole and Sheila R. Foster, From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of Environmental Justice Movement, (New York University Press, 2001), 44-45.

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