Toxic Runoff from Maryland Industry: Inadequate Stormwater Discharge Protections Threaten Marylanders’ Health and the Environment, a joint publication from CPR and the Environmental Integrity Project, by CPR's Rena Steinzor, David Flores and Evan Isaacson, and EIP's Sylvia Lam and Courtney Bernhardt, November 2017.
The James River watershed in Virginia is particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. It faces higher than average sea-level rise, intensifying precipitation rates, and increased hurricane risks. As major storms cause serious and potentially toxic flooding in the James River watershed – and elsewhere in the United States – residents are reminded that the industries surrounding them are not doing enough to plan and adapt to our changing world.
Coastal communities in the United States are largely unprepared for the projected effects of the climate crisis, including more intense storm surges, sea level rise, increased precipitation, and other drivers of coastal and inland flooding. That flooding is damaging enough on its own, but in recent years, chemical spills triggered by extreme weather, such as hurricanes, have become more frequent, exposing nearby communities to toxic chemicals and hazardous waste in the midst of natural disaster. In this web article, CPR's Darya Minovi discusses the danger and offers recommendations.
CPR's June 2020 fact sheet describes the threat of toxic floodwaters resulting from more and more severe weather events combined with a concentration of industrial facilities subject to flooding in the Hampton Roads region. Such toxic floodwater events would have a particularly severe impact on low-income and minority communities in the region.
CPR's September 24, 2020, webinar focused on the ways climate impacts are compounding industrial disasters and impacting water resources around the nation. Toxic spills from industrial sites pollute waterways and threaten the safety of communities already burdened by pollution and the climate crisis. Participants discussed collaborative research and advocacy in Virginia and the Gulf Coast, as well as various analytical and regulatory tools for preventing climate-induced chemical disasters.
October 2020 Webinar: High-risk chemical facilities and other hazardous industrial sites are disproportionately located near communities where Black, Brown, and low-wealth families live, learn, and play. In 2012, floodwaters from Superstorm Sandy submerged some of these facilities, carrying chemicals and heavy metals into people’s homes. On October 20, 2020, CPR hosted a webinar featuring experts on the topic.
CPR analysts Darya Minovi and David Flores submitted a public comment on Virginia's draft air pollution permit for a proposed natural gas and diesel-burning power plant at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth. Citing CPR's Toxic Floodwaters study of the James River Watershed, the letter explores the risks of harm that the facility and others in the area pose to the low-income and minority fenceline communities already disproportionately burdened by industrial pollution.
Our current pollution prevention policies are static in a time of great and rapid disruption driven by the climate crisis. The growing risk of harm from climate-driven industrial pollution and chemical disasters demands a just, innovative policy response. In our November 18 toxic floodwaters webinar, participants learned about the legal and policy challenges to addressing these hazards, as well as litigation and regulatory solutions proposed by leading experts and practitioners.