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Environmental Justice Enters Its Age of Anxiety

From Flint to Standing Rock, a movement built to address the racial inequities in environmental issues emerged on the national stage during the Obama years. But the winds are about to change.
President-elect Donald Trump, in his earlier guise as golf course developer, at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. The Bronx project opened atop a former landfill in 2015.
President-elect Donald Trump, in his earlier guise as golf course developer, at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point. The Bronx project opened atop a former landfill in 2015. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

For an idea of what President-elect Donald Trump thinks about environmental justice—that is, when minorities and low-income communities suffer disproportionately from environmental harms—look to the Bronx.

There, one of Trump’s companies is running a golf course built over a landfill, right next to a public housing development. When the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance first learned of the golf course plans—announced by then-mayor Rudolph Giuliani back in 1998—the group warned that construction on this site would apply downward pressure on the landfill’s decomposing waste, releasing toxic gases into the groundwater and the basements of the homes nearby. The alliance sued to stop the project but failed.