Environmental justice listening session in Grand Rapids

GR residents discuss environmental injustice

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - After the Flint water crisis, the governor appointed a work group to identify and avoid other potential incidents of “environmental injustice."

Tuesday, Aug. 1, the work group hosted a listening session in Grand Rapids. People in low income neglected neighborhoods who lack political power are the usual victims of environmental injustice.

“Flint is an example of how things can go really bad when you are not treating people fairly and not involving them in the decision making process,” explains work group co-chair Chris Kolb. “Flint was an example of environmental injustice.

"We believe all people should be treated fairly.”

Coincidentally, the meeting in Grand Rapids was across from a building on Madison Avenue that was evacuated for two months last year when vapors from dry cleaning chemicals were discovered leaking into the basement.

“I was a worker in that building at the time off the vapor intrusion,” says Paula Collier. “Had to go to the health department have our blood drawn and have a urinalysis done. I had a higher than normal level.”

“We are here to hear from the residents of Grand Rapids,” says Kolb. “What they believe the issues are and what their recommendations would be for us in our final report.”

The Environmental Justice Work Group is meeting in metro Detroit next week and plans a session in northern Michigan before reporting to the governor.

Here is a link for people to participate online: EnvironmentalJusticeWorkGroup@michigan.gov.

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