Mrs. Jones Goes to Washington

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Last Dec. 6, exactly one year after Vice President-elect Gore’s ringing vow that the East Liverpool incinerator would never be allowed to run without a thorough investigation, the Government Accountability Project, Greenpeace, and Mother Jones held a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill. Neither Gore nor any member of his office attended. The investigation he’d promised was still proceeding with no visible progress and no end in sight.

In the stately hall, a university professor wittily told how a hazardous-waste incinerator was “coming soon to a neighborhood near you”–but only if your neighborhood was poor, populated by racial and ethnic minorities, and desperate for jobs. The GAP and Greenpeace people spoke of the legal issues involved and the appalling scientific hazards. GAP released a study describing the contamination of the national food supply by incinerator dioxin emissions as “catastrophic.” And citizen activists (from places like Jacksonville, Ark., and Rock Hill, S.C., as well as East Liverpool, Ohio) read from prepared texts.

The day before, at the rehearsal for the briefing, they told us how they’d done everything they were brought up to do. They’d noticed something wrong in their neighborhoods. They’d looked into the matter. Some of them had become experts on the subject of hazardous-waste incineration in general and the conditions in their local plants in particular. They’d taken their disturbing findings to the EPA and to their elected representatives. Nothing happened. Like good Americans, they went to the Capitol and politely spoke their minds. Then the citizens went home. And nothing went right on happening.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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