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Test Results:
Cedar Terrace
Magnolia Homes

by David Stanowski
22 August 2013

Cedar Terrace:

Cedar Terrace Summary
Appendix E Table 1 & 2
Appendix H Table 3

Phase 1 Report
Phase 1 Slosky Review
Phase 2 Report

SCI July 12, 2013 Letter 

Magnolia Homes:

Magnolia Homes Summary

Phase 1 Report
Phase 1 Slosky Review
Phase 2 Report

Environmental Justice

“Many communities are exposed to disproportionate health and environmental dangers because of their social, economic, or political position. The impacts of agency projects must take account of these disproportionate dangers and alleviate them when recognized. Executive Order 12898, "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations," establishes that the agency "shall make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations.

More information on environmental justice is in the Council on Environmental Quality publication, "Environmental Justice Guidance under the National Environmental Policy Act".”
E.O. 12898

In short, E.O. 12898 says that you can not use federal funds to subject minority and low-income populations to environmental conditions that are worse than those typically experienced by White middle-class populations.

There are 54 identified “Facilities of Interest” and/or “Brownfields” within 3,000 feet of the perimeter of the Cedar Terrace site and 42
within 3,000 feet of the perimeter of the Magnolia Homes site. 3,000 feet is the distance set forth for scrutiny in HUD Form 4128, Page 5, Item 23.

The environmental analysis contracted for by MBS acknowledged some of these sites and also tested water and soil samples from the site itself. Many of the water and soil samples were contaminated with arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) above acceptable levels. Water contamination was ignored, because residents won’t be using water from the site, but the water beneath the site can certainly transport contamination throughout the soil.

The 12 July 2013 letter from SCI Engineering, regarding Cedar Terrace states, “soil samples collected from the site exceeded the regulatory threshold for residential developments.” SCI Engineering went on to recommend removal of the top 12” of soil, replacement with clean soil, and a “cap and cover” of the entire site.

These water and soil samples raise very serious questions about whether the proposed remediation is acceptable under E.O. 12898. These projects are in low-income minority neighborhoods and its target group of residents is additional impoverished minorities. No developer would build apartments on these sites if the target group were middle-class White residents, because they would surely fail to gain enough residents to be financially viable.

Therefore, these sites violate the dictates of E.O. 12898 by subjecting low-income minorities to a level of contamination risk that middle class White people would surely find unacceptable, so it appears as though the report’s conclusion that this site is acceptable for residential development did not take the dictates of this Order into consideration, AND its objectivity can also be questioned, considering the fact that the developer needed a favorable finding in order to proceed with this project, which means that these sites should be rejected in favor of safer locations.

Site and Neighborhood Standards

All Public Housing construction must meet the strict standards of CFR 941.202:

“Proposed sites for public housing projects to be newly constructed or rehabilitated must be approved by the field office as meeting the following standards:”

“(e) The site must be free from adverse environmental conditions, natural or manmade, such as instability, flooding, septic tank back-ups, sewage hazards or mudslides; harmful air pollution, smoke or dust; excessive noise vibration, vehicular traffic, rodent or vermin infestation; or fire hazards. The neighborhood must not be one which is seriously detrimental to family life or in which substandard dwellings or other undesirable elements predominate, unless there is actively in progress a concerted program to remedy the undesirable conditions.”

The Cedar Terrace and Magnolia Homes sites and their neighborhoods are not suitable under CFR 941.202 (e), because they are located in areas of adverse environmental conditions, they are seriously detrimental to family life, and substandard dwellings and undesirable elements predominate in the neighborhoods. 

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