Following Hurricane Matthew and the record floods that we experienced many residents in Lumberton, NC and in other small cities and towns throughout the region don’t have to imagine what it’s like to experience an expected water crisis as a result of contaminated drinking water. Together we learned that the old saying ‘You don’t miss the water till the well goes dry’ rings true.
So as we consider the myriad of diverse but relevant issues that are related to regional long term recovery, it is important for us to also consider how recent policy decisions to repeal regulations and dismantle enforcment capabilities, construction projects like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, fracking, offshore drilling, the practices of industrial hog and poultry operations, and many other interconnected and relevant factors might affect not only the quality of our drinking water — but also the air we breath, the local food we grow and eat, food saftey in general, and overall public health in vulnerable areas of the state like Robeson County. Moreover it is important for us to not get distracted or fall into the trap of thinking about single issues in a vaccum, since all of these elements and more exist in a common ecosystem and affect one another.
Therefore everyone in our region and across the State of North Carolina – regardless of poltical ideology, race, socio-economic status, or level of education – should carefully consider the serious implications of these and other relevant challenges since they are swirling together and producing yet another powerful “storm” that will once again dismantle the assumption that ‘it could never happen here, or it could never happen to me.’ Afterall, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” In other words, due to rapidly sweeping and widespread public policy changes that are forecasted to significantly endanger the health and saftey of the overall public in a myriad of dimensions simultaneously, we’re now all effectively in exactly the same boat as the most vulnerable in our society. As a result we don’t have to speculate about the degree to which the quality of our lives might change – or about how difficult it will be for everyone in the near furture – because sadly our collective apathy and sympathy may soon be transformed into inescapable empathy.
EPA expressed “deep concern” that North Carolina’s failure to adequately regulate more than 2,200 industrial hog operations has a disparate, discriminatory impact on African American, Latino, and Native American communities in eastern North Carolina.
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Source: EPA Expresses “Deep Concern” Over Discriminatory Impacts of Industrial Hog Operations in North Carolina – Waterkeeper Alliance
Drinking Glass Image: CDC PHIL
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