May 7, 2008
The movement for environmental justice might receive a huge boost from the Midwest. Cincinnati, Ohio might become one of the first cities in the United States to officially recognize environmental injustices as not just wrong, but illegal. A recent article in the Cincinnati Inquirer reports on an exciting new ordinance known as the Environmental Justice Ordinance, sponsored by Cincinnati’s Vice Mayor David Crowley and backed by a majority in the city council.
At the policy level, the ordinance "would require some proposed projects in Cincinnati’s poorest neighborhoods to undergo an extra environmental justice review…to determine whether the new business would have an adverse impact on the neighborhood and/or on residents’ health there," according to the article.
The ordinance, backed by the NAACP, was created as a reaction to high rates of asthma in urban populations of color; however, it could face tough resistance from business owners who fear another administrative and regulatory zoning measure. We wish the best of luck to the Vice Mayor and hope to see a future Cincinnati where environmental burdens are not heaped onto lower income communities of color.