Welcome to NC PCB Archives
Welcome to ncpcbarchives.com, our archival-resource website dedicated to sharing information, images, and unique insights into one of the most pivotal and far-reaching environmental histories of the past century — the Warren County, North Carolina PCB story, well-known for the 1982 launching of the Environmental Justice Movement, a movement that “transformed environmentalism” and that is most relevant to the critical pollution issues we face today.
Fall of 1982
For six weeks that fall, 550 Warren County citizens and their supporters drew national media attention and ignited the imagination of people across the country when they marched and were arrested in non-violent protest against the forced siting of a PCB landfill. Their non-violent civil disobedience is known as the largest in the South since Dr. King marched, and it was hailed in a Washington Post editorial as the “marriage of environmental concerns with civil rights activism.”
Civil Rights History
Not only did the Warren County PCB movement make civil rights history, but also the PCB landfill made environmental history as a testing grounds for new, less stringent EPA regulations that made the use of marginal and geologically unsuitable sites such as the Warren County site legally possible. The justification was that the EPA’s new, state-of-the-art, “Cadillac”, dry-tomb landfill would compensate for such unsuitable sites. The objective was to get landfills wherever they were politically possible.
Protests to Protect Constitutional Rights
Warren County citizens’ opposition to a toxic waste landfill that they knew was doomed to failure demonstrated to state and federal government and to targeted communities and generations to come that when people are threatened, they will unite in defense and become a moving, effective, historical force. Warren County citizens may not have stopped the PCB landfill, but every mile they walked in protest, every body that lay down in defiance and was arrested, was responsible in part for helping protect our fundamental and Constitutional right to a safe and clean environment.