Flint II? Lawsuit Follows Plans to Build 5th Power Plant in Black Neighborhood
"The Maryland agencies that decided that this plant should be built are putting a bunch of pollution sources into a community that's 75 percent black, while whiter communities get cleaner air."
The practice of environmental racism in Maryland is now reaching the legal system. The state is facing a civil rights lawsuit after approving plans to build a fifth power plant in the unincorporated town of Brandywine, a majority-Black town located in Prince George's County that already struggles with problems related to pollution.
"The Maryland agencies that decided that this plant should be built are putting a bunch of pollution sources into a community that's 75 percent black, while whiter communities get cleaner air," said Neil Gormley, the attorney with Earthjustice who filed the complaint. Earthjustice is the country's biggest nonprofit environmental law organization.
Gormley also called the situation "an egregious example of discrimination."
Brandywine is 72.2 percent Black, the U.S. Census reports. Overall, Maryland is only 30 percent Black.
The suit alleges that approving the construction is in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states in part: "No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, … be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
Mattawoman Energy's proposal to build a 990-megawatt plant was approved in November. Two other plants are currently under construction near Brandywine as well. When all three of these projects are completed, there will be three large gas-fired plants — within three miles of one another — in Brandywine's immediate vicinity, and five large fossil fuel-fired total plants within 13 miles.
According to the complaint, the construction echoes a continued pattern of environmental racism in Maryland. The 14 counties that are 15 percent Black or less have a total of just three large fossil fuel-fired power plants. Howard and Montgomery Counties are both geographically and financially similar to Prince George's County, but Howard County has none of those power plants, and Montgomery County only has one.
"But while the population of Prince George's County is 64.5 percent black, the population of Howard County is only 17.5 percent black, and the population of Montgomery County is only 17.2 percent black," the suit notes.
"Prince George's County already has unhealthy air," Gormley said. "It violates national standards for ozone pollution, ground-level ozone, which is well understood to contribute to asthma, other respiratory problems and even premature death."
Black residents in Maryland are already hospitalized for asthma at rates more than twice as high as those of their white and Hispanic counterparts, research finds. And Blacks in Maryland are more than four times as likely as whites to go to the emergency department for asthma and more than three times as likely to go to the hospital for asthma. In addition, Blacks are almost 2.5 times more likely than whites in Maryland to die from asthma.
The complaint is filed against the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC), Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), all of which are recipients of federal funds.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Brandywine TB Coalition and the Patuxent Riverkeeper.
The Brandywine TB Coalition is an organization set on "protecting the environment, improving public health, … and improving overall quality of life." The Patuxent Riverkeeper is a not-for-profit group that fights environmental issues, including unsustainable development. Both groups have members that would be directly affected by the construction of the plant.
The complaint alleges that no one from the PSC, MDE or MDNR denied that the new construction will have negative side effects on Brandywine residents, with PSC even stating that the development of the plant will be "unfortunate for Brandywine."
Fred Tutman, CEO of Patuxent Riverkeeper, said race is absolutely a factor in the construction of the power plant.
"National experience teaches us that projects like high-polluting power plants typically go to areas with the least political power and the most people of color — and also in neighborhoods where the clean air, water and open space are most at risk," he said.
Kamita Gray, president of the Brandywine TB Coalition, said, "We have a fundamental right to clean air, land, water, and food."
The situation occurring in Brandywine echoes the water crisis currently happening in Flint, Michigan, a majority-Black city where residents were exposed to lead-contaminated water in their homes for months. The government, which had knowledge of the water not meeting safety standards, did not step in for months, until residents had already ingested the contaminated water. Recently, the United Nations concluded that the crisis would not have happened at all if Flint was "well-off or overwhelmingly white."
Trump's administration, again, attempts to downplay the accomplishments of the first Black president.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted Tuesday evening on Twitter that she gave false information when attempting to tout President Trump's record on job creation for Black Americans.
Sanders told reporters, Tuesday, during a White House press briefing:
"This president, since he took office, created 700,000 new jobs for African-Americans. After eight years of President Obama in office, he only created 195,000 jobs for African-Americans. President Trump, in his first year and a half, has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years."
She greatly undercounted the number of jobs created under Obama.
According to the official count from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the Great Recession, most of the employment gains for Black people took place during the Obama administration.
From January 2009 to January 2017, Obama increased employment for Black Americans by about 3 million jobs.
"Sanders' error dramatically alters the comparison between the two presidents," according to PolitiFact.
"Rather than Trump tripling Obama's increase in African-American employment, it is actually Obama who in eight years quadrupled the increase Trump oversaw in a year and a half. And Obama had to deal with the fall-out from the Great Recession during that period."
After the backlash from Sanders' statement, the White House's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) said in a tweet: "Apologies for @WhiteHouseCEA's earlier miscommunication to @PressSec."
Sanders then re-tweeted the CEA, adding her own message:
Correction from today's briefing: Jobs numbers for Pres Trump and Pres Obama were correct, but the time frame for Pres Obama wasn't. I'm sorry for the mistake, but no apologies for the 700,000 jobs for African Americans created under President Trump https://t.co/EXGvbliwlS
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) August 15, 2018
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Mounting research finds that Blacks are treated worse in the healthcare system but doctors and hospitals can sue patients for giving negative reviews. How does that work?
Bill Shine, fired Fox News co-president of misogyny, upstaged by his ignoramus spouse.
Darla Shine's racist beliefs filled her Twitter page, which she deleted as soon as the White House announced that her husband, Bill Shine, was officially joining the Trump administration as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for communications.
Shine's racist statements dating back to 2015 included questioning why white people would be labeled racist for using the N-word and mocking African nations and Black hair.
On Friday, Mediate published a report with screenshots obtained from her Twitter account, @darlashine, before it was deleted.
In January, in defense of President Donald Trump's sh**hole comment about African nations, she tweeted a racist meme making fun of the progress of African nations when compared to Europe:
She mocked the hairstyles of Black women:
"If white chicks can't perm their hair – Black chicks can't go blonde."
She bashed NBA players LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, who spoke out about police-related shootings during the ESPY awards in 2016.
"Comical to see these over paid Black sports stars give Black Lives Matter speech at ESPYs."
She constantly voiced her opinion against the Black Lives Matter movement:
"Imagine the protests if three white teens murdered a Black woman #AmandaBlackburn Only Black Lives Matter I guess," said a tweet about the fatal 2015 shooting of Amanda Blackburn in Indianapolis.
"The new stand-in President at #mizzou is Black. Will every white College President have to be replaced," she said a 2015 tweet.
Shine had a problem with Black people being able to say the N-word while she and other white people can't.
"Funny how critics calling to ban Gone With the Wind, Jefferson Memorial, but no talk of banning the N-word or Rap songs with N-word in it."
"Just singing to one of my jams 'Golddigger' by Kanye West when I realized If I sing along to the verse 'Broke Ni**er' I might be a racist," tweeted Shine in July 2015 (West's song does not include a hard R version of the slur).
"At FSU u can punch a girl in the face & only get kicked off football team but sing a song with the N word in it & you're expelled at Oklahoma," said a 2015 tweet.
"Rebel Flag off State Buildings in SC but cop killer rap songs, songs about rape, and songs with N word continue to play on the radio."
Shine linked Black children with an anti-vaccination conspiracy theory:
"1 out of 10 Black boys has autism," said a February 2016 tweet.
In addition to Shine consistently bashing Black people over the years, she has made some disparaging posts about Muslims. She said the following in regard to ABC firing Roseanne Barr over her racist tweet directed at Valerie Jarrett:
"Wondering what it was that set off the #ABC execs the #Ape comment or really the #MuslimBrotherhood comment," she said a tweet in May.
Prior to working at the White House, Shine's husband was a Fox News co-president who resigned from the network in May 2017 following Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes sexual harassment allegations. Apparently, at the same time Bill Shine was at a network where "institutional racism blunts efforts to attract a more multicultural audience," Darla Shine, a former television producer and author of a book called "Happy Housewives," was spreading the same type of racism on social media.
In regard to Darla Shine's social media history, the White House has not responded to requests from media for comment.
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While gentrification continues to grow throughout cities in the U.S., a D.C. lawyer has decided to take action by filing a discrimination lawsuit on behalf of at least 23 people.
Bernice King's response: "Absolutely not."
Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist, said that slain civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be "proud" of what President Donald Trump has done for Blacks and Latinos in the U.S.
Bannon was the CEO of Trump's presidential campaign. Trump gained supporters by calling Mexicans rapists, committing to building a wall between Mexico and the U.S., allowing Black people to be physically assaulted at his rallies and lightly disavowing the support of white supremacists.
"Martin Luther King ... he would be proud of what Donald Trump has done for [the] Black and Hispanic working class, okay?" Bannon said on "This Week" Sunday.
Steve Bannon says Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "would be proud of what Donald Trump has done for black and Hispanic working class." @jonkarl: "I think there are a lot of civil rights leaders that would adamantly disagree with you on that." https://t.co/k8LsdiiLHH pic.twitter.com/yjqm7SVq3E
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 17, 2018
On Sunday, King's daughter, Bernice King, CEO of The King Center, re-tweeted a post from The Washington Post reporter Eugene Scott who referenced a similar claim Bannon had made previously. She included a response, simply stating: “Absolutely not."
In May, King tweeted:
#SteveBannon has dangerously and erroneously co-opted my father's name, work and words.
Bannon's assertion that my father, #MLK, would be proud of Donald Trump wholly ignores Daddy's commitment to people of all races, nationalities, etc. being treated with dignity and respect.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) May 24, 2018
Bannon said in March at an event with far-right French politicians that they should "wear" accusations of racism "as a badge of honor."
“Let them call you racist. Let them call you xenophobes," he said. “Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor. Because every day, we get stronger and they get weaker."
Bannon said on Sunday that he was “talking specifically about Donald Trump and his policies."
“His economic nationalism doesn't care about your race, your religion, your gender, your sexual preference," he said.
The Trump administration's “zero tolerance" immigration policy is currently separating children of undocumented immigrants from their mothers and fathers.
King tweeted on Sunday:
In the words of my father, “to ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it." Separating children from their parents is beyond inhumane; it is evil. https://t.co/cGsdZA67qn
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) June 18, 2018
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