Politics & Policy

Federal Complaint Says Hog Farms Are Racial Discrimination

Environmentalist groups accuse hog farms of violating civil rights.

Environmental groups have filed a civil-rights complaint against hog farmers in North Carolina, claiming that by maintaining farms near neighborhoods where minorities live, the pork producers are engaged in illegal discrimination against minorities.

The 48-page complaint explains that the farms create problems for surrounding neighborhoods such as foul smells and runoff in the water.

The crux of the complaint, which was filed by Washington-based EarthJustice and three other environmental groups in the Tar Heel State, is not these problems themselves, however. The four environmental groups object to seeing these problems occur in neighborhoods where “people of color” are more likely to live.

The groups also cited issues such as not being able to hang laundry outside and the humiliation that comes from family members’ not wanting to visit.

The complaint was filed against the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources by EarthJustice, along with the Rural  Empowerment Association for Community Help, the N.C. Environmental Justice Network, and the Waterkeeper Alliance.

The suit requests that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Civil Rights investigate the issue before giving federal funding to the state agency.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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