National Association of County and City Health Officials  [Printer-friendly version]
November 12, 2000


Adopted on November 12, 2000 by the National Association of County and
City Health Officials

WHEREAS, throughout the nation there is an overrepresentation of toxic
waste sites and contaminated properties in communities of color and
low-income communities[1], and race is the most significant variable
that has been associated with the siting of hazardous waste
facilities, even after controlling for urbanization, regional
differences and socio-economic status[2]; and

WHEREAS, penalties imposed under hazardous waste laws at sites having
the greatest white population were about 500 percent higher than
penalties imposed at sites with the greatest people of color
population[3]; and

WHEREAS, serious health concerns and exposures have resulted from the
siting of toxic waste and other contaminated facilities in communities
of color and low-income communities, adding to other threats posed by
poor quality housing, absence of mass transit, unhealthy working
conditions, poverty, and high levels of pollution production[4]; and

WHEREAS, urban sprawl and discriminatory land use decisions create
economic and racial polarization, segregated neighborhoods and
deteriorating neighborhoods in people of color and low-income
communities,[5] thereby increasing health and safety risks, health
disparities, air and water pollution, poor quality housing, unstable
neighborhoods, unsustainable ecosystems, and poor quality of life;[6]

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association of County and
City Health Officials (NACCHO) supports the fundamental right to
political, economic, cultural and environmental self-determination of
all peoples, and the right to be free from ecological destruction; and
affirms the need for urban and rural ecological policies to clean up
and rebuild our cities and rural areas in balance with nature while
assuring healthy communities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO facilitates local public health
agency efforts to ensure that no communities suffer from
disproportional exposures to environmental health hazards; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NACCHO actively supports programs,
policies, and activities that build the capacity to identify
disproportionate sitings of facilities, discriminatory land use and
zoning laws, and to assure nondiscriminatory compliance with all
environmental, health and safety laws in order to assure equal
protection of the public health; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO supports public and corporate
policy based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from
any form of discrimination or bias; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO supports universal protection from
unnecessary radiation exposure resulting from nuclear testing,
extraction, production and disposal of toxic/hazardous wastes and
poisons that threatens the fundamental right to clean air, land,
water, and food; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO supports the principle that
producers of hazardous waste and materials be held strictly
accountable to the people and responsible for containment and
detoxification; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO supports the right of all people
potentially affected to participate as equal partners at every level
of decision-making about hazardous waste and materials, including
needs assessment, planning, implementation, enforcement and
evaluation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO recognizes a special legal and
ethical relationship of the federal, state, and local governments and
Native Peoples through treaties, agreements, compacts, and covenants
affirming sovereignty and self-determination; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO affirms the right of all workers to
a safe and healthy work environment; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO calls for the education of present
and future generations which emphasizes social and environmental
issues, based on our experience, our concern for health, and an
appreciation of our diverse cultural perspectives; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NACCHO supports the right to ethical,
balanced and responsible uses of land and renewable resources in the
interest of a sustainable planet for humans and other living things.

Note: This resolution replaces Resolution 93-2 Environmental Equity

Adopted by NACCHO Board of Directors


1. Benjamin Goldman, Not Just Prosperity: Achieving Sustainability
with Environmental Justice. Washington, DC: National Wildlife
Federation, 1994; Carita Shanklin, "Comment, Pathfinder: Environmental
Justice," 24 Ecology Law Quarterly 333 (1997); Commission for Racial
Justice, United Church of Christ, "Toxic Waste and Race in the United
States, a National Report on the Racial and Socio-Economic
Characteristics of Communities with Hazardous Waste Sites," Public
Data Access, Inc., 1987.

2. Paul Mohai and Bunyan Bryant. "Environmental Justice: Weighing Race
and Class As Factors in the Distribution of Environmental Hazards," 63
University of Colorado Law Review 921 (1992).

3. The National Law Journal, "Unequal Protection, the Racial Divide in
Environmental Law, " Sept. 21, 1992.

4. Robert Bullard, Unequal Protection: Environmental Justice and
Communities of Color. San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1994;. Charles
Lee, Environmental Justice, Urban Revitalization, and Brownfields: The
Search for Authentic Signs of Hope. A Report on the "Public Dialogues
on Urban Revitalization and Brownfields: Envisioning Healthy and
Sustainable Communities. Washington, DC: National Environmental
Justice Advisory Council Waste and Facility Siting Subcommittee.
December, 1996. EPA 500 R-96-002. Also appears as "Environmental
Justice: Creating A Vision for Achieving Healthy and Sustainable
Communities," in Benjamin Amick and Rima Rudd eds. Social Change and
Health Improvement: Case Studies for Action, forthcoming, 1999; Craig
Anthony Arnold, "Planning Milagros: Environmental Justice and Land Use
Regulation," 76(1) Denver University Law Review 1998: 1.

5. Michael Gelobter, "The Meaning of Environmental Injustice," 21(3)
Fordham Urban Law Journal (Spring, 1994): 841-56; Robert Bullard,
Glenn S. Johnson and Angel O. Torres. Sprawl City. Washington, DC:
Island Press, 2000; Paul Stanton Kibel, "The Urban Nexus: Open Space,
Brownfields, and Justice," 25 Boston College Environmental Affairs Law
Review (1998): 589.

6. Carl Anthony, Suburbs Are Making Us Sick: Health Implications of
Suburban Sprawl and Inner City Abandonment on Communities of Color.
Environmental Justice Health Research Needs report Series. Atlanta:
Environmental Justice Resource Center, 1998; David Bollier, How Smart
Growth Can Stop Sprawl. Washington, DC: Essential Books, 1998; Craig
Anthony Arnold, "Planning Milagros: Environmental Justice and Land Use
Regulation," 76(1) Denver University Law Review (1998): 1-152.