As reported by Reuters, the Biden administration recently announced a groundbreaking environmental justice agreement in Alabama, addressing racial discrimination against Black residents of Lowndes County. The first-of-its kind settlement comes after an 18-month federal probe revealed that the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) failed to provide adequate sewage systems and imposed fines on residents for sanitation issues they could not control.
As part of the agreement, the ADPH will now provide basic sanitation services, end exposure to raw sewage, and suspend criminal penalties for residents who cannot afford septic systems. This marks a new chapter for Lowndes County’s Black community, who have long suffered from health dangers, indignities, and racial injustice.
The investigation found that Alabama health officials were aware that Black residents in Lowndes County were disproportionately affected by failing septic systems, yet took no action to address the issue. This negligence led to raw sewage seeping into backyards, causing health problems such as hookworm intestinal parasites.
This landmark settlement not only ensures environmental justice and equality for Lowndes County residents but also sets a precedent for addressing similar issues in marginalized communities across the U.S. By demonstrating the government’s commitment to environmental justice and compliance with Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964, the resolution has the potential to guide future investigations and legal actions, promoting equal access to essential public services and environmental health for all citizens.
The full article is available on Reuter’s website.
About Lieff Cabraser’s Environmental Law Practice
Lieff Cabraser possesses the expertise and financial resources to thoroughly investigate environmental cases and hold the defendants accountable. For over 50 years, we have successfully prosecuted cases against many of the world’s most powerful corporations, obtaining compensation for families and property owners harmed by toxic environmental exposures. We are currently advancing cases aimed at fixing chronic hazardous water supply problems in Benton Harbor, Michigan and Jackson, Mississippi.