Environment

Solid Waste: PA has promoted a package of City waste reduction initiatives, including the hiring of a solid waste coordinator, the creation of a series of recycling opportunities at the transfer station, and attraction of waste-using industries to Durham. PA also sponsored numerous public forums on a variety of recycling and waste reduction issues. PA also published “Talking Trash,” a vision that links responsible waste collection to an industrial park of recycling businesses (1989).

Ban on recyclables: PA fought hard for and won a City ordinance banning recyclables from the transfer station and the landfill.

Hazardous Materials Teams: PA played an important role in forming a coalition to successfully establish Haz Mat teams in Durham to greatly enhance emergency response to accidents involving hazardous materials. Durham’s efforts served as a model for the rest of the State.

Garbage fees: PA successfully lobbied the City Council to defeat a proposal to charge pick-up fees for residential garbage collection. PA argued that the change from the traditional practice of using property taxes to pay for garbage collection would have cost most households more, been particularly burdensome for low-income households, and would probably have caused litter and public sanitation problems.

Watershed: PA fought hard to protect the watershed against development, in the northern part of the County (around Falls Lake, Lake Michie, Little River and south around Jordan Lake) that would diminish water quality for Durham and communities downstream. In 2009, PA has been deeply engaged with two separate issues over Jordan Lake: one involves a concerning redelineation of the lake boundary by a private developer who stands to gain financially from the change; the second issue concerns water quality in the same lake. PA successfully advocated for the passage of state legislation H239 “Restore Water Quality in Jordan Reservoir”.

Environmental Impact: PA was an early advocate for an environmental impact statement for the planned Treyburn development in northern Durham (1985).

Incinerators: In 1988, PA successfully opposed the idea of a local mass burn incinerator.

Municipal “Right to Know” ordinance: PA helped organize the Toxics Action Coalition in East Durham to pass the “Right to Know” ordinance through City Council – the first toxics exposure ordinance passed in the South (1983-85).

North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Project: NCOSH began as an ad hoc committee of the People’s Alliance. Several PA members had been active in the Carolina Brown Lung Association, fighting for workers’ compensation and improved working conditions for textile workers who suffered from bysinossis due to exposure to cotton dust in mills throughout the Carolinas. NCOSH also worked with diverse union locals on workers’ OSHA rights, on specific health and safety hazards, and on occupational health policy issues. In NCOSH’s home-base of Durham, local victories included working with Citizens for a Safer East Durham to oppose a chemical storage site in a residential area, and passage of a Right to Know ordinance (first in the South — see below). Around the state, NCOSH pushed for the passage of legislative reforms after the Imperial Foods fire in Hamlet and now conducts special outreach to Latino immigrants and teen-age workers about their legal rights and about job hazards.

Blood Testing for Durham’s Children: As part of the Durham CAN coalition, PA supported a community-wide initiative to test at-risk children for lead and securing community funding to support mitigation in targeted neighborhoods.

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