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Activists will gather at City Hall Friday to demand shutdown of Detroit incinerator


  • Detail of photo by Jay Jurma

A confederation of local environmental activists and members of environmental groups from all over the country will gather in front of the Spirit of Detroit statue Friday morning to demand the closing of Detroit's trash incinerator.

Breathe Free Detroit, a large local coalition of groups opposed to the incinerator, will have their ranks strengthened by attendees of the Extreme Energy Extraction Collaboration Summit meeting in Detroit this weekend. In addition to protesters and activists bearing placards demanding an end to the incinerator and the environmental racism it has come to symbolize, organizers will hold a press conference, present a 15,000-name petition embodying their demands to Mayor Mike Duggan, and announce the release of a report on the big burner.

The report, co-authored by the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center, makes a point found in MT's recent cover story about the incinerator: "Most of the waste comes from whiter, more affluent communities surrounding Detroit — a majority African American city with relatively lower incomes that bears the brunt of the toxins released by the incinerator."

In our story on the battle environmentalists have waged against the incinerator, Great Lakes Environmental Law Center's Nick Leonard had told us: "These facilities close. It's not like there haven't been incinerators that have closed before. And it usually happens because there's a groundswell of energy that says, 'We don't want this anymore.' Eventually that groundswell reaches people with political power."

It sure seems like tomorrow's protest could mark the beginning of that sort of groundswell.

Breathe Free Detroit's press conference takes place at 10 a.m. Friday, May 18, in front of the Spirit of Detroit statue on the Woodward side of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. For more information on Breathe Free Detroit, click here. For more information on the Extreme Energy Extraction Collaboration Summit, click here.

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