COFFEE COUNTY, Ala. (WDHN) — The Shiloh Community in Elba has called on the hometown native and “Father of Environmental Justice” Dr. Robert Bullard to help them find answers and bring timely justice for the flooding issues the community has dealt with for five years and six months.
“I have done a lot of work like this and it’s not surprising to see the washouts and flooding but it’s nothing like seeing this happen in a community near me,” says Bullard.
After residents felt neglected of help from the state several times, Bullard and his team answered the call and decided to visit and hold a two-day fact-finding tour. The tour is where he walks the grounds to get a clear understanding of where the water is coming from, listens to residents and takes notes of what they usually experience during heavy periods of rain due to the Highway 84 expansion in 2018.
Dr. Bullard says the Shiloh Community situation fits the title of his new book Highway Robbery.
“They could have kept it flat all the way to that sign but they didn’t they elevated and then turn the pipes on us it was nothing I did,” says Timothy Williams.
“The water is flooding the house we have blocks coming out of the foundation it’s not fair for the community,” Otis Andrews said.
“Our home is sinking and land is practically destroyed due to all of this water and I’m having to sleep in a room that is on the side of the home that is sinking, that also has a gas line by my bedroom and we hope we’re not in the room when it sinks in the ground,” Melissa Williams adds emotionally.
“What I hope to accomplish is to get as much information as I can and put together a coherent document report recommendations and to look at where there are opportunities to go to the various agencies,” says Bullard.
Although Dr. Bullard is still working on gathering the facts, he believes there are multiple factors to address to resolve the issue in a timely manner.
“The people didn’t create this, ” Dr. Bullard said. “We need to look at engineering, public policy, funding, there’s a $1.2 trillion bi-partisan infrastructure law that was passed, there are billions of dollars in there for infrastructure,” Bullard says.
Bullard said there is no certain timetable on when he expects issues to be resolved. He plans to work as fast as the community wants him to.