Environmental Social Justice

During my time on the Council, I have continuously advocated for environmental justice, which I see as a top priority in District 12, especially because this district has a higher concentration of people of color and working class people than most other areas in Madison. District 12 has considerable environmental concerns affecting our neighbors, including water pollution, soil contamination, and noise pollution. As an alder, I listened to your concerns and amplified your voices at Common Council meetings in the community to stand strong in the fight for safe clean neighborhoods for all.

As many of you are aware, the deployment of the F-35 fighter jets to Madison Truax Field disproportionately impacts low-income communities and people of color. Many areas in District 12 will be impacted by the increased noise of the F-35 jets, and some areas will become “uninhabitable” per the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) sponsored by the US Air Force due to above 65 decibel noise pollution caused by the jets. I co-sponsored a resolution to oppose the F-35s and support continuing community-based efforts to oppose F-35s. But now that it seems clear that F-35s will be coming to Madison, I am going to work with the community and the City, County, and State on a mitigation plan to mitigate PFAS as well as noise for residents in the area.

In addition, the use of fire fighter spray at Truax Fire Pit has contaminated our drinking water with PFAS. During the November 2020 budget session, I co-sponsored a budget amendment to add $50k for testing the water in our District with a sense of urgency. The City of Madison shares some responsibility for this contamination and I will push to make sure we do our part to understand and inform the public of health risks, clean up the contamination, and reduce future harm.

I also proposed an amendment to add the City’s first environmental justice language into the Oscar Mayer Special Area Plan (OMSAP). The Oscar Mayer plant will be redeveloped into walkable community uses, and the 100+ years of industrial contamination must be cleaned up for this area to be safe. Due to my advocacy, the plan now includes a goal to: “Address racial justice and social equity during the OMSAP redevelopment process, which must include assessing and preventing human exposures to toxic chemicals at the site and/or released from the site among all people and particularly at-risk low-income people and people of color.”

Historical and current data shows extremely serious Trichloroethylene TCE (and other) contamination on the northern parcel--see most recent data here and here.

 I am working hard with city staff and developers to mitigate the chemical pollution at this site