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Davis seeks tough balance between trash, cash

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Artur Davis set out on an “Environmental Justice Tour” seeking money in a trash can.

Through West Alabama and the Black Belt, including stops in Selma, Perry County and Emelle, Davis sought the pulse of public opinion on the environment.

“We want to make sure we don’t become — figuratively and literally — the nation’s dumping ground,” Davis said.

While the Congressman has heard plenty of complaints about the perils of landfills and waste sites, he’s also seen opportunity for a deprived region.

Along with Emelle, a proposed landfill near Uniontown could bring much needed jobs to Perry County.

With a delicate balance, Davis wants to find a way to keep his district clean while keeping an open philosophy toward economic growth.

Last week, Davis took another step toward analyzing the opportunity for environmentally safe job growth. He built on the tour by developing an Environmental Justice Policy Working Group.

The EJ-PWG has been assembled to provide Congressman Davis with a balanced perspective on environmental justice concerns and includes professionals representing the academic community, the environmental advocacy community and industry practitioners from across the district and the state of Alabama.

This group of advisors will also function as policy advisors to Congressman Davis and will help implement environmental-related initiatives within the Seventh Congressional District. Chief among their immediate priorities will be to aid in the implementation of Davis’ Sustainable Development Summit which is to be convened in October 2004.

“My goal has been to create a pool of experts and professionals who can sit in the same room and formulate practical solutions related to environmental issues.

I believe that this working group is diverse and will provide an array of perspectives that can help forge consensus on environmental issues.”

Davis’ Environmental Justice Policy Working Group is comprised of the following members:

Dr. Bill Andreen – Professor, Environmental Law, International Environmental Law and Administrative Law, University of Alabama School of Law;

Chair, Environmental Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools;

President, Alabama Rivers Alliance;

Member, Environmental Law Commission of the World Conservation Union (IUCN)

Dr. Mabel Anderson – Executive Director of Village Creek Environmental Justice Society

Dr. Conner Bailey – Professor, Rural Sociology, Auburn University

Lynn Battle – Director, Citizens for Lead Education&Poisoning Prevention;

Founding Member, Leadership Caucus of the Alabama African American Environmental Justice Action Network; Founder, CLEPP

Phyllis Belcher – Executive Director of Greene County Industrial Board; Member, Initiative 7 Board of Directors;

Member, Economic Development Association of Alabama;

Member, Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Council;

Member, Eutaw Area Chamber of Commerce; Board Member and Graduate, Leadership Alabama (Class VII graduate).

Dr. Paul Blanchard – Professor, Biology and Environmental Studies, Samford University

Jonathan Bonner – Environmental Engineer with Sentell Engineering; Environmental

Engineering Consultant for the City of Uniontown, AL.

Karen Boykin – Assistant Director, Southeast Regional Office of the National Institute for Global Environmental Change;

Research Engineer, Environmental Institute of the University of Alabama;

Program Administrator, Alabama Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research

Dr. Richard Holland – President, University of West Alabama; Member, Alabama On-site Sewage Management Committee with the Alabama

Department of Public Health; Chair, Community Development Committee of the Livingston Chamber of Commerce;

Chair, Sumter County Nature Trust and Co-Chair of the West

Alabama Regional Alliance

Kaye Kiker – Chair, York Industrial Development Board; Environmental Justice Advocate

Deborah Love – Independent Environmental Consultant for the City of Selma and City of Birmingham; Director, DHL Analytical Laboratory’s

David Roberson – Chair, Business Council of Alabama’s Environment&Energy Committee; Legislative Liaison, Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Alabama Chapter, Chair, Alabama Scrap Tire Commission; Chair, Waste Reduction and Technology Transfer Foundation (WRATT); Chair, Alabama Land Recycling and Economic Redevelopment Commission (Brownfields Commission).

“The ultimate goal of each of my Environmental Justice initiatives is to empower each respective community to be a full partner in environmental decision making and dispel the false choice between economic development and safe, healthy communities,” said Davis.