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Glynn County Planning Process Fails School Children
and Minorities, Again.

    The Glynn County land use planning and approval process has failed our children and minorities, again.  A second asphalt plant is locating on Whitlock Street, ˝ mile from three schools and in the heart of minority neighborhoods, all made possible by Glynn County’s re-zoning and approval process.

The GEC requested a Public Hearing, which was held on August 24th in the Brunswick High School cafeteria.   Concerns expressed included the following:

   The Glynn County Commission protested the first asphalt plant air permit in 2003 due to impacts to schools and nearby residential neighborhoods. How could the Commission approve another asphalt plant right next to the first?  The answer lies in the Glynn County planning and approval process. 

   School locations are not considered when Glynn County plans and approves land uses that will pollute.  The Georgia Environmental Protection Division only considers if the air permit to pollute meets regulations, and does not become involved in local land use decisions.

GEC and community members expressed concerns about the air permit for second asphalt plant on Whitlock Street in Brunswick at the August 24th, 2006 public hearing.
Hazardous pollutants include potent central nervous system toxicants and suppressants, many of which are released close to Brunswick’s schools, which could reduce the ability to learn or influence test taking ability.   Failure to learn or suppressed learning potential during the first few years of school can have significant impacts later in life.  Brunswick’s schools have a very high dropout rate, which could be attributable in part to environmental conditions that damage or suppress learning ability and potential during elementary school.

Glynn County does not consider minority neighborhoods when planning and approving land uses that will result in air pollution.  Under the Civil Rights Act, polluting industries cannot be clustered into minority neighborhoods, which is happening.  Both the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and Glynn County appear to be failing to uphold their obligations under the Civil Rights Act.

   Issuing the Sholan Asphalt Plant an air permit to pollute would disproportionally impact minority populations in violation of the Civil rights Act of 1964.  Over 50% of the people living in the area around the proposed plant are black, compared to 37.3% state-wide, and 31% in Glynn County.  Furthermore, over one-half of all persons receiving public assistance in Glynn County live within the area that would be affected by the Sholan Asphalt Plant.

   The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides guiding principles for governmental operations and policies in minority communities.  Issuing an air permit to pollute to the Sholan Asphalt plant would be in violation of the EPA’s “Fair Treatment Policy”.

   “Fair Treatment means that no group of people should bear a disproportional share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies."

   Until Glynn County takes schools and minority neighborhoods into consideration during the land use planning and approval process, we will be destined to continue placing pollution next to schools, and clustering polluting activities in minority neighborhoods.

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