I know that this Executive Order 12898 has benefited many communities in the U. S., but what I learned from direct experience with the Warren County PCB landfill debacle is that this executive order didn’t apply. In fact, when it comes to environmental justice for the county that is credited with having launched the environmental justice movement, not only has there been no justice, but there has been outright obstruction of justice, and this obstruction has occurred by state and EPA officials with the help of local officials and politicians, particularly Dollie Burwell, who served as Warren County’s Democratic Register of Deeds, as a Field Representative to Democratic U.S. Congresswoman Eva Clayton, to U.S. Congressman Frank Ballance (who served four years in jail for fraud and more), and to U.S. Congressman G.K. Butterfield for whom she still works.
According to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who wrote Crimes Against Nature, “If a terrorist group committed in North Carolina – for ideological reasons – a crime that Duke Energy has committed for profit, our nation would consider it an act of war against our country. Duke could have avoided contaminating the Dan River and poisoning Virginia’s water supplies if it had removed its toxic ash heaps years ago after being warned by EPA.”
Over the past week, I have also been scouring my files for correspondences from Pete Seeger. I have a stack of numerous correspondences, starting in 1982 when we were in the midst of the PCB landfill protest movement, continuing from time to time throughout the 1980’s, the 1990’s, and 2000’s. In all cases, Pete wrote to encourage and support our environmental justice and pollution prevention efforts. He was genuine, caring, insightful, and Ken and I treasure every word he so graciously shared.
It is day 30 of my 365 Days of Living Deliberately blog. Yesterday, my sister, Joan, sent me this email from her friend Dorothy, a musician who had played with Paul Winter and with Pete Seeger. Here is Pete Seeger’s song titled “My Old Brown Earth.” It is the best eulogy that one could give Pete, the song he wrote to his old, brown earth. All over the world, people are hearing this song (and crying, though he asks us not to) that was released for the public yesterday as a gift to us all, a gift that sings the simple purity of Pete’s heart and mind.
It is day 28 of my 365 Days of Living Deliberately blog. Pete Seeger passed on yesterday, and I spent a lot of time thinking about him this evening after my teaching today. Pete communicated with Ken and me numerous times over several decades, starting with our PCB movement in the early 1980’s, into our work to stop mega landfills and to clean up the PCB landfill in the 1990’s, and even in the 2000’s, after I was beginning to write the North Carolina PCB history.
Something huge is about to go down on Saturday, February 8, 2014 in North Carolina. We are standing up for justice in what is being called the biggest march and rally in the south since Martin Luther King, Jr. led 25,000 people through the streets of Selma, AL in 1965. Will you march with us and be a part of this historical event?