– Sierra Club ally Hilton Kelley has been awarded this year's prestigious
Goldman Environmental Prize, considered the "Nobel prize for environmental
activism," for his landmark environmental justice work to improve air
quality in one of the most polluted areas in the nation. Kelley led the
movement to clean up his largely African-American west side neighborhood of
Port Arthur, TX after seeing his town sickened by industrial pollution, plagued
with crime and teetering near economic collapse. Over the last decade, Kelley
has worked to educate and empower residents of his community and reduce
emissions from the eight major petrochemical and hazardous waste facilities in
"Hilton Kelley and CIDA have successfully elevated their local environmental justice issues nationally and internationally and leveraged their advocacy to benefit many other similar environmental justice communities," according to Leslie Fields, the Sierra Club's Environmental Justice and Community Partnership Director.
Kelley’s community outreach campaign and advocacy led to the installation of state-of-the-art equipment to reduce harmful emissions at Motiva, the largest petrochemical facility in the U.S. Kelley also negotiated a now-famous “good neighbor” agreement that provided health coverage for the residents of the west side for three years and established a $3.5 million fund to help entrepreneurs launch new businesses in the community. He recently led a successful campaign beginning in 2006 that stopped Veolia Corporation from importing more than 20,000 tons of toxic PCBs from Mexico for incineration at its Port Arthur plant.
”It has been a
pleasure to work with Hilton to fight air pollution in Port Arthur,” said Dr.
Neil Carman, PhD chemist and Clean Air Program Director for the Lone Star
Chapter of the Sierra Club, who assisted in the successful effort to stop
Veolia. “Hilton is a wonderful advocate for his community and for
everyone in the Golden Triangle region of Texas. His dedicated efforts
are making a big difference on air quality and on the lives of his neighbors.”
“It’s good to have someone like Hilton Kelley working in our community to help
make the conditions better,” said Port Arthur resident and CIDA activist
Tashiica Miles. “For too long our communities have been dumped on and there
needs to be more for our youth as well – like recreation centers. CIDA is
working on all of these issues and we’re glad that they’re here.”