My Toxic Backyard
Reel and Meal at the New Deal Cafe, screens the documentary My Toxic Backyard in its Mid-Atlantic premiere.
My Toxic Backyard by Emmy award-winning filmmaker, Katie Damien, is the story of corporate (CTS) contamination and what happens when a rural community in North Carolina decides to fight back. The idea for the documentary began when Damien, while house hunting, stumbled upon a neighborhood in south Asheville with a high rate of cancer. This haunted Damien, who decided to delve into the story and ended up 5 years later with an hour-long documentary. Chronicling the South Asheville Superfund site leaking toxic chemicals into the ground water surrounding the area, she followed the community’s struggle to acquire clean, safe water. Damien’s film highlights several affected families: Aaron Penland, who opens the film by pointing to family members, victims of cancer appearing in a family movie, “a death video,” he says; Shannon Mead whose constant illness forced her to miss the first seven years of her first child’s life; and Tate MacQueen, who moved with his wife Bethan and their two young children into a tiny apartment to get away from the water.
It took nearly 30 years after EPA’s initial assessment to name the affected area a Superfund site. When the site finally became a designated Superfund site in 2012, it was ranked among the worst in the country. Now there are at least 74 cases of cancer and more than one hundred homes within one mile of the site. Unfortunately the problems of this community are not isolated. With more than 46,000 sites evaluated by the EPA, one out of every four Americans lives within a four-mile radius of a Superfund site. Do you know what’s in your water? Your air? In the ground around you?
Find out how close toxic sites are to your backyard: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/webmaps/index.asp
Tate MacQueen, former Greenbelter and current Democratic candidate for U.S. House of Representatives (NC-10). For more than six years Tate has been a persistent advocate for hundreds of residents and neighbors exposed to chemicals like TCE, a known carcinogen. Time and time again, he traveled to Raleigh and Washington to advocate and seek relief for his community and family. As a result water lines are finally being extended from Asheville to provide safe water. It was this experience of lobbying unresponsive representatives that led Tate to seek elected office. On April 23, Tate and 23 other plaintiffs will have their case, CTS Corp. v. Waldburger, heard in the U.S. Supreme Court. For more details on the CTS case and to learn why the Department of Justice has opted to side with the corporate contaminator, please read the USA Today article: Government straddles both sides in toxic water cases.
Green Vegan Networking hosts April’s program. For more information, contact Cam MacQueen at . To learn more about Tate and his bid for Congress, visit tatemacqueen.com.