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Lois Gibbs, known as “The Mother of Superfund,” led the historic fight to relocate 800 of her neighbors away from toxic waste in her Love Canal neighborhood in Niagara Falls, NY. starting in 1978. 

Statement from Lois Gibbs, founder of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice:

FALLS CHURCH, Virg. – The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal just released their preliminary statement about hydro-fracturing (fracking) and its impacts on the natural environment, public health and human rights. Their conclusions are not a surprise to me as I was a Jurist for three of the tribunals in Northeast and southern Ohio and Virginia.

The preliminary statement said:

“The evidence clearly demonstrates that the processes of fracking contribute substantially to anthropogenic harm, including climate change and global warming, and involve massive violations of a range of substantive and procedural human rights and the rights of nature. Thus the industry has failed to fulfil its legal and moral obligations.

The evidence also shows that governments have, in general, failed in their responsibility to regulate the industry so as to protect people, communities and nature. In addition, they have failed to act promptly and effectively to the dangers of climate change that fracking represents.”

I agree with their conclusions, after listening to mothers testifying about their sick children or worse the children who have died because of contaminated water, air or land. One small business woman, in tears, told the jurist that she can no longer promise healthy chemical-free food at her restaurant. She contracted with a local farmer whose food is now questionable because of pollution from fracking.

I felt helpless listening to testimonies about details of destruction of land that was family-owned for generations; pipelines that will disrupt an historic and honored slave cemetery in Virginia – and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains sacrificed.

This fall, the United Nations will make recommendations to the United States government. We have some insight through this preliminary statement of what those recommendations might be. The question is will decision makers at the local, state and federal governments act on those recommendations?

The Center for Health, Environment & Justice has been helping build healthy communities nationwide since 1981. CHEJ is the nation’s leading resource for grassroots environmental activism.

CHEJ is a project of People’s Action Institute, bringing power, programs and resources a national network of organizations working for environmental, economic, racial and gender justice.

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About People’s Action

People’s Action is a national network of 38 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. Our organization recently released a vision for a national Homes Guarantee that has already prompted major legislation from champions including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. Prior to endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, we completed a national forum series that The Nation called “the most in-depth, people-powered forum” of the 2020 cycle.”

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