Environmental Justice 

On this page you will find statements and observations from residents on environmental injustices in Curtis Bay. This page is designed to assist fellow residents as well as our state and local officials in gaining insight into the experience on the ground with exposures to nuisances, toxics and hazards. Our hope is that this information will be used to effect change.  


  • Stronger standards that protect our health, worker safety and our shared environment (every permit decision represents an opportunity to either act in support of environmental justice or maintain the unacceptable status quo. A blatant example of low standards is the lack of covering on the coal terminal that operates 1,000 ft from our rec center)


  • Relief funds to mitigate the costs  of hosting toxic waste infrastructure for decades (Currently, zero dollars in per ton fees are paid to neighboring communities despite millions of tons in hazardous materials worth billions of dollars moving through our communities each year. Per ton fees are found across the country but require public officials willing to engage on behalf of the interests of residents facing environmental injustices.)


  • A “Just Transition for Zero Waste Fund” to develop new community-owned compost, recycling, deconstruction and reuse infrastructure to end reliance on toxic waste infrastructure (The regional medical waste incinerator and municipal trash incinerator are both located in South Baltimore along with public and private landfills and the city’s wastewater treatment plant. While we have been used as a dumping ground for decades, we are now leading the way towards zero waste)


  • Protections for sanitation workers as we transition from outdated technologies to current approaches 


  • End subsidies for the incinerators and landfills we are transitioning away from


  • Build and strengthen local end markets for compost and recycled commodities


Curtis Bay is an environmental justice community with over 70 facilities handling hazardous and toxic materials in close proximity to our homes, schools, businesses and parks. While many of these businesses have the potential to be strong community partners in development without displacement, the reality is that many are actively violating Federal EPA standards. Together, the concentration of facilities creates a cumulative impact that reduces our chances of living long healthy lives. We have a 100+ year history of explosions, leaks and spills that have already displaced our 3 neighboring communities of Fairfield, Wagner’s and Hawkin’s Point. We are taking a stand to ensure that we build the new mechanisms needed to have a safe, stable and livable community with good jobs doing socially and environmentally sustainable work. 

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Environmental Injustice has taken a toll on our communities in South Baltimore. Our former neighbors in Fairfield, Wagners and Hawkins Point were all involuntarily displaced when our government officials failed to resolve the tension between owners of polluting industry on the one hand and the health of workers and residents on the other. Instead, the false solution offered was to eliminate communities and continue to make development decisions that increase the pollution and quality of life impacts on remaining neighborhoods. This community produced short film outlines the past 100 years of environmental justice along with a call to action to learn from the failed decisions of the past with concrete action for environmental justice and community and worker led development without displacement. 

This set of videos feature community members describing the decades long issue of coal dust from the CSX coal terminal entering found on homes, cars, kids pools and in the air we breathe — as well as the recent explosion at the coal facility that sent thousands of pounds of dust into Curtis Bay and remains unexplained.