PEORIA, Ill.–Local residents shared their concerns about the impact of pollution on their life to the EPA Director of Environmental Justice Monday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
Director Matthew Tejada had a packed day with a bus tour around the southside of Peoria with local environmental activists and community leaders, leading up to the public environmental justice meeting.
Matthew Tejada was happy with the large crowd that gathered and said getting people to participate is the most important step to causing change.
“The only thing that makes a difference is when you all show up and speak up, you have to keep doing this even when you get tired,” Tejada said.
Local concerns brought up in the meeting included the impact of air emissions from the Edwards power plant and other factories in the area impacting the health of those who live in low-income and minority areas.
Tracy Fox, who is a volunteer with Illinois People Action and the Central Illinois Healthy Community Alliance, said she believed they succeeded in showing Director Tejada both the concerns of the community and local willingness to work for change.
“Our Message to Director Tejada was that we have people who are willing to collaborate, who are ready to work to make the community better,” Fox said.
The Illinois EPA environmental Justice Coordinator Chris Pressnall was encouraged by all the people who showed up to participate in the meeting.
“There are a lot of people that are really passionate about the environment here in Peoria,” Pressnall said. “That’s the kind of action that motivates everybody in this field to really do the best we can.”