Calif. groups sue EPA over civil rights complaint

By GOSIA WOZNIACKA | July 8, 2011 | 3:15 AM EDT

KETTLEMAN CITY, Calif. (AP) — Two community groups in California say the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hasn't responded to a discrimination complaint filed more than a decade ago about how California's three toxic waste dumps are all near poor Latino communities.

They've filed a federal lawsuit in Fresno that alleges the EPA has failed to address their complaints in a timely manner. The three toxic dumps are still operating.

Among the plaintiffs is Maricela Mares-Alatorre, who joined residents of Kettleman City and two other farmworker towns in filing the civil rights complaint 16 years ago. Trucks filled with PCBs, benzene and asbestos still pass within three miles of her home as they travel to one of the country's biggest toxic landfills.

The EPA hasn't addressed that complaint and says it can't comment on pending litigation.