Editor: Environmental injustices are far too common in our country. Issues are ignored. Policies are shortsighted. If no one fights back, nothing changes.
The proposed expansion of Keystone Sanitary Landfill is a perfect example. Nationally, Pennsylvania consistently ranks among leading importers of trash. Locally, Northeast Pennsylvania already has two mega-dumps and plenty of capacity. So why does Keystone Landfill need 50 more years’ worth of garbage? It looks to take advantage of the people of Northeast Pennsylvania and keep its lid open as the symbolic trash can of the Northeast.
Common sense tells us that landfills don’t belong in the middle of communities. They don’t belong near schools, parks or water supplies. The people who live near a landfill deserve protections and assurances that their health is not in jeopardy.
However, unless people stand up for themselves, these expansions often skate through unopposed.
Sometimes, a community stands up and fights for what is right. I was part of such a movement when I started the Love Canal Homeowners’ Association in 1978. Now, through my role as the founder of the nationally recognized Center for Health, Environment & Justice, I am fortunate to help communities stand up and fight every day.
Your community is fortunate. You have fighters. You have the Friends of Lackawanna. We have worked with these organized, dedicated, and caring people over the past year. We will continue to work with them on their mission. I hope that the people and politicians of Northeast Pennsylvania will talk to them, listen to them and help them. They are fighting for your future and they deserve your support.
LOIS MARIE GIBBS
FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA
Editor’s note: The writer, an environmental activist, participated in a local panel discussion Monday on landfills, trash and their local and state impact.