In 2013 three brave African American women came together with the help of o Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and founded Concerned Citizens of Richmond County in south central North Carolina to address the current toxic pollution and the approved expansion of turbines from our local power plant known as the Duke Energy Combustion Turbines.
Duke Energy is the largest investor-owned electric company on earth. As such, it enjoys a huge measure of political power. This power, however, is misused, and the impacts of this misuse are evident in Hamlet, NC, and many other places.
Our current goal is to stop the environmental and social injustice of our area of continuing to be a pollution dump ground for the region especially by Duke Energy. In the past many African American residents have been hit hard by a toxic soup of asbestos and chemicals from local railroad company CRX. Members of CCRC have lost multiple love ones and friends to this injustice from cancer and respiratory diseases. It appears that many in the community have been indoctrinated to be passive on these issues because they involve a major company that bring jobs to the area and tax revenue for the local government.
When we have requested to be on the local county commissioner’s monthly meeting agenda to address some of these issues we have been rejected. Our state representative for this area is in complete denial. Our greatest challenge and goal is to shift the thinking of the community. They need to be educated and empowered to know that they have the capacity to provide a safer and healthier community.