SouthWest Organizing Project Community Environmental Bill of Rights

Publisher Name: 
SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP)

Right to Clean Industry

We have the right to clean industry; industry that will contribute to the economic development of our communities and that will enhance the environment and beauty of our landscape. We have the right to say "NO" to industries that we feel will be polluters and disrupt our lifestyles and traditions. We have the right to choose which industries we feel will benefit our communities most, and have the right to public notice and public hearings to allow us to make these decisions.

Right to Be Safe from Harmful Exposure

We have the right to be safe from harmful exposures imposed on us against our will that would affect our health or disrupt our lifestyles. It is our right to have a comfortable lifestyle, safe from toxic chemicals, other hazardous waste and nuisance. This means having safe water, clean air, and being free of excessive and constant noise from industry.

Right to Prevention

We have the right to participate in the formulation of public policy that prevents toxic pollution from entering our communities. We support technologies that will provide jobs, business opportunities, and conservation of valuable resources. As residents and workers, we have the right to safe equipment and safety measures to prevent our exposure in the community and workplace.

Right to Know

We have the right to know what toxic chemicals industry, corporate polluters, and government have brought or intend to bring into our communities and workplaces, and how these chemicals will be used. We have the right to know exactly what the methods of prevention and disposal of these chemicals will be.

Right to Participate

We have the right to particpate as equals in all negotiations and decisions affecting our lives, children, homes and jobs on the matter of exposure to hazardous chemicals and wastes. We will not allow backroom negotiations and
"sweetheart deals." We have the right of access without cost to information and assistance that will make our participation meaningful, and to have our needs and concerns be the major factor in all policy decisions. Government agencies at all levels should be responsive to our needs, provide us with necessary data, and include us in all megotiations with polluters. We have the right to sit at the negotiation table with representatives of the responsible polluters and choose our own representatives. All information should be bilingual because of the multi-ethnic nature of our communities.

Right to Protection and Enforcement

We have the right to participate in the formulation of strong laws controlling toxic wastes and vigorous enforcement of those laws. Government enforcement agencies must enforce all laws and regulations. We also have the right to criminal prosecution of polluters. If a person dies from exposure to chemical poisons in the environment, the reponsible party must be prosecuted.

Right to Compensation

We have the right to be compensated for damages to our health, our homes, and
our livlihoods. The responsible parties must compensate us for medical costs, effects imposed on our children and our elderly, the loss of our land, livestock, and the destruction of our homes and environment.

Right to Clean Up

The polluters shall bear the financial burden of clean up. The community shall participate and be an equal partner in developing clean up plans and in monitoring the clean up process. Clean up should take place quickly and the technology chosen will be based on speed and effectiveness and not on low cost. Remedial investigations and feasibility studies will be done in the shortest possible time. We have the right to be insured that our problem in not transferred to other communities. Our homes and our environment shall be restored to the way they were before the polluters chose to pollute them.

SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP)

211 10th Street, SW

Albuquerque, NM 87102

Tel: (505) 247-8832

Fax: (505) 247-9972


AMP Section Name:Environment