With classmates in her environmental justice course taught by Professor Breena Holland, Sarabeth Brockley was tasked with studying the pros and cons of a proposed 48,000-square-foot waste-to-energy incineration plant slated for Allentown, her hometown. It was a “classic environmental justice case” that was “unfolding before us,” she explains. The more they learned, the more concerned they became, and what began as a research project shifted to an extended effort at community outreach, engagement, and organizing.
“The question is not only how safe the technology is but also, more importantly, how safe is it to place…1 mile from an elementary school,” says Brockley. Also eye-opening for her was the decision-making process that surrounded the project’s approval and how area residents were largely left out. “For me, that’s a huge problem.”