Flint residents file civil rights complaint over asphalt plant approval


December 15, 2021 

Media Contacts:
Alejandro Davila, Earthjustice,
Deidre Swesnik, National Housing Law Project,

Flint residents file civil rights complaint over asphalt plant approval

Asphalt plant will dump air pollution in a Black community unrecovered from lead poisoning 

Flint, Michigan—Today, residents of Genesee County filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development over the local approval of a polluting hot-mix asphalt plant. The complaint said that Genesee Township’s approval of the Ajax asphalt plant violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Housing and Community Development Act, as it is part of a pattern of discrimination. Groups are represented by the National Housing Law Project, Earthjustice, and the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center.

The asphalt plant, which will emit many air contaminants – including lead – will be sited less than 1600 feet from public housing in a low-income Black neighborhood that is already overwhelmed by high levels of air toxics and particulate matter from industrial activity. Genesee Township is nearly 90% white, and almost all of its elected leaders are white. Yet, those living within one mile of the Ajax plant are predominantly communities of color. Residents living close to this industrial area are 77% Black and 10% Hispanic or Latinx. Genesee Township has historically permitted industry where communities of color live, and where federally assisted low-income housing is sited.

Click here to read the full news release.