The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) submitted a public comment to the Environmental Protection Agency today that highlights the lack of consideration for environmental justice for the millions of incarcerated individuals nationwide. The comment was co-signed by 91 social justice, environmental and prisoners’ rights organizations from across the country, including NPAP.
“It’s encouraging to see the EPA attempting to increase the effectiveness of protecting vulnerable communities that have been overburdened by industrial pollution, but a significant component is missing when impacts on millions of prisoners and their families are ignored,” said Panagioti Tsolkas, coordinator of HRDC’s Prison Ecology Project.
HRDC’s comment elaborates on examples nationwide which illustrate a clear need to protect prisoners as a population that faces extreme environmental justice impacts. For example, prisons and jails built on or near landfills, toxic waste dumps, Superfund cleanup and coal mining sites, or in locations that are vulnerable to natural disasters such as flooding and environmental hazards like contaminated water. The comment also discusses the overwhelming evidence that prisoners represent the most vulnerable and uniquely-overburdened demographic in our nation.