It’s part of a larger pattern of regulatory failures
(Correction: An earlier version misstated the pollution contribution from individual industries to East Phillips’ overall pollution problems. It has been corrected. This post also was updated with information from the MPCA.)
The City of Minneapolis has declared racism a public health emergency, pledging to “allocate funding, staff, and additional resources to actively engage in racial equity in order to name, reverse, and repair the harm done to BIPOC in this City.”
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has committed to environmental justice, saying it will focus “on developing strategies to reduce pollution and health disparities in communities most at-risk.”
Unfortunately, neither of those promises are protecting the residents of East Phillips, one of Minneapolis’ poorest and most racially diverse neighborhoods, and home to Little Earth, a 212-unit housing development that gives preference to Native American applicants.
The neighborhood has several pollution sources: Smith Foundry, an iron works; Bituminous Roadways, an asphalt plant; the city’s Hiawatha Public Works yard, and Hiawatha Avenue, a major thoroughfare.
City leaders should know that East Phillips is part of the “pubic health emergency.” The city’s 2021 Racial Equity Impact Analysis said residents living in the area “experience much higher levels of cumulative pollution than residents from majority white city neighborhoods … leading to [higher] levels of asthma and hospitalization for children and adults.”
(East Phillips asthma levels were more than double the state average in 2019, MinnPost reported.)
Unless things change soon, East Phillips will soon get even more pollution and related health problems, further exacerbating health disparities.Continue reading