Vanderbilt panel to consider merits of environmental injustice charges in two Middle Tennessee cases

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ñ An expert panel will consider two cases of suspected environmental injustice in Middle Tennessee as part of a continuing series of lunch-hour discussions presented by the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center at Vanderbilt University.

The "Environmental Injustice or Not?" discussion will be held at 12:20 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23, in Room 203 of Alumni Hall on the Vanderbilt campus.

At issue are cancer and other illnesses suffered by people who live in the vicinities of the Dickson County Landfill and an old White Way Laundry store in Nashville.

In each case, residents believe their health was compromised by chemicals leaked into the soil near their homes over the years. Celebrity attorneys Erin Brockovich and Johnnie Cochran Jr. have met with families in Dickson County.

Panelists for the Vanderbilt discussion are Sanmi Areola, a toxicologist with the Metro Nashville Health Department; James Clarke, a professor of the practice of civil and environmental engineering at Vanderbilt; Metro Nashville Councilwoman Brenda Gilmore; Joe Sanders, general counsel of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation; and Justin P. Wilson, adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University School of Law and former deputy governor for policy under Gov. Don Sundquist.

Impacted residents from Dickson County and the Edgehill neighborhood of Nashville will attend.

The Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center is named after the first African American student admitted to Vanderbilt. Under the leadership of acting director Yollette Jones, the center sponsors events to examine diversity issues and build a sense of community for students at Vanderbilt.

Media contact: Jim Patterson, (615) 322-NEWS

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