Click here to view the full report.
After thoroughly studying the demographic report provided for Green Ridge concerning their building of a landfill (found here), I found severe deficiencies in the reporting, which lead to a bias in Green Ridge’s favor. The purpose of my study was to evaluate and report the full demographic data in the area which would be affected by the proposed landfill. I show that building the proposed landfill in eastern Cumberland County presents an environmental justice concern as it would disproportionately impact minority and younger populations. It is important to note as well, that the residents of Cumberland County and surrounding counties have not had significant meaningful impact on a project which could affect their air quality, water quality and overall quality of life.
In the affected area, the percentage of residents that are Black (alone) is 33.0%, which is 77.4% higher than the Black population percentage in Virginia, and 166% higher than the Black population percentage in the US. Even comparing the affected area with Cumberland County, which has a Black population percentage significantly higher than Virginia’s Black population percentage, the affected area has a Black population percentage that is 12.6% higher than the Black population percentage in Cumberland County. Within a mile and a half of the landfill, there is a significantly larger percentage of Black residents compared with counties adjacent to Cumberland County, Virginia, and the US (with this percentage increasing the closer you get to the landfill).
Of the residents living in the affected area, 32.1% are under 18 years of age. The affected area has 46.6% higher percent of residents under 18 than Virginia, and 57.4% higher percent of residents under 18 than Cumberland County. Of the Black (alone) residents living in the affected area, 40.5% are under 18 years of age. The affected area has 78.4% higher percent of Black residents under 18 than Virginia, and 121% higher percent of Black residents under 18 than Cumberland County. Within two miles of the landfill, there is a significantly larger percentage of residents under 18 compared with counties adjacent to Cumberland County, Virginia, and the US.
Many of the potentially affected residents in the community have not had appropriate opportunity to participate in decisions about the landfill as many of the negotiations and planning was done behind closed doors months before the deal was announced. The residents had little to no say in the rulemaking decisions, and their concerns were not considered in the decision making process (as evidenced by the fact that it only took the Cumberland County Board of Supervisors 35 days from when they officially announced Green Ridge would be building a landfill in Cumberland County to when they officially approve Green Ridge’s request to build the landfill).
The results of this study show that the building of the Green Ridge landfill will disproportionately affect minority and younger populations. More information about the findings as well as a thorough discription of the methods used (and why the methods used by the demographic report contracted by Green Ridge lead to bias results) can be found here.