The appeal to the Environmental Hearing Board argued that DEP chose to ignore the clear discriminatory impact of the incinerator on the minority community, thereby violating DEP’s obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discriminatory action by federally funded entities. DEP also failed to consider the already-poorer health of the Harrisburg community.
DEP even ignored the recommendation of its own Environmental Justice Work Group, which directed the DEP to take steps to improve environmentally overburdened minority and low-income communities.
Unfortunately, the state Environmental Hearing Board refused to decide the case on the merits of whether the permit for the incinerator was properly issued and decided to duck the issue on a technicality. The case was unsuccessful on appeal, once again allowing the state to refuse a low-income, minority community even basic environmental protections.