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Some Say Landfill Indicates Environmental Racism

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HOLLY SPRINGS — Some say a plan to build a landfill in Holly Springs is nothing more than environmental racism. Residents of Easton Acres are lashing out against the proposal and threatening to sue Wake County.

Easton Acres is a minority community, with African-American residents for the most part. The community is already near several closed landfills, and now stands to be neighbors with the new South Wake County landfill.

At issue in the latest controversy to crop up around the proposed landfill is the fact that Easton Acres' residents say this is nothing short of environmental racism, and they're saying 'enough is enough'.

The residents have joined forces with the NAACP in charging Wake County with environmental racism. They are threatening to take legal action.

"Why should you make this one percent of Wake County a dumping ground of this county?" asked Rev. H.B. Pickett, president of the Raleigh-Apex chapter of the NAACP.

LeVerne Cofield bought her home 14 years ago. She's in the midst of renovating her home, but says she fear the landfill will erode her property value. She's also angry that county leaders keep planning dumps near her community.

"There are four existing landfills that were all developed around black communities," said Cofield. "I see the imbalance there."

Imbalance is what landfill opponents are charging, but there was a response to questions about the proposed landfill, that was written by Wake County solid waste managers. In it, they address the issue of environmental racism.

The document states that the property for the proposed landfill was purchased in 1974, which is about the same time developers bought property for Easton Acres. It also says the county's north and west landfills are located in predominately middle-class, caucasian communities.