The head of the U-S Environmental Protection Agency met with community leaders and SCDHEC Sunday and Monday, as she brought her agency’s Environmental Justice Tour to South Carolina. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was invited by Congressman Jim Clyburn and the Congressional Black Caucus to hear about and address how pollution and industrial waste affect poorer communities.
(Jackson explains “environmental justice” tour MP3)
EPA’s Lisa Jackson explains environmental justice tour MP3 1:29
Certain local efforts are being showcased on this visit, with stops in Spartanburg, Columbia, Savannah River Site and North Charleston. All have hot spots of urban and neighborhood contamination–and success stories of citizen action that resulted in clean up.
In the case of Spartanburg Representative Harold Mitchell, his fight for his neighborhood landed him at the Statehouse, where he says he had bipartisan support.
(Spartanburg Rep. Harold Mitchell tells his story, how legislature supported efforts MP3 2:57)
Spartanburg Rep. Harold Mitchell tells his story MP3
Congressman Jim Clyburn says that the $250 million federal funding that has helped what is now known as the ReGenesis project in Spartanburg County came from “earmarks.” He cautioned the town hall audience to consider that before listening to criticism of Congressional earmarks for programs.
“Earmarks are,” he says, “a congressman seeing a need and making sure the problem is addressed.”
Monday, the EPA chief was at the Savannah River Site to learn about a an environmental job training project has The Reverend Brendolyn Jenkins, a community leader in the Aiken area is also a forensic pathologist. She talks says “gone are the day where citizens simply show up, act up and fall out.” She says that to “create change, we must become competent and educated. ”
The joint EPA-CBC tour kicked off in Mississippi. Stops in South Carolina mark the second leg of the tour.