Thursday, March 8, 2007
Environmental justice forum today
BY HOWARD WILKINSON | Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnatians who live in neighborhood beset by enironmental pollution will come together this afternoon for a forum that organizers hope will lead to state legislation that will make it easier for neighborhoods to fight polluters.
The Cincinnati Environmental Justice Forum, hosted by Communities United for Action (CUFA), begins at 4 p.m. and runs until 7:30 p.m. at 1814 Dreman Ave. in South Cumminsville.
Lois Gibbs, a community activist who organized her neighbors during the Love Canal environmental crisis in upstate New York in 1979, will be one of the speakers at the event, which includes Cincinnati Councilman David Crowley.
Gibbs said the forum is one of three being held in Ohio’s largest cities – one in Columbus last week, a third in Cleveland next week – to gather ideas from residents of low-income, high pollution neighborhoods on how Ohio’s laws can be rewritten to give neighborhoods more power in dealing with polluters.
“Ohio is sadly lacking in protection for these neighborhoods,’’ Gibbs said in a phone interview. “We need to put some teeth in the law and get some resources to these neighborhoods.
Jack Shaner, a spokesman for the Ohio Environmental Council, one of the sponsors of today’s forum, said that by early next year, his organization and others involved in the environmental justice project plan to have proposed legislation and new administrative rules to present to the Ohio General Assembly and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.
Linda Briscoe of CUFA said that residents of Cincinnati neighborhoods that have industrial pollution problems have been invited to the forum.
The public is invited to attend, but is asked to call (513) 227-1871. A light dinner will be served at the meeting.