ACV Joins EarthJustice on a Lawsuit for EPA to Follow Restrictions on Formaldehyde

October 31, 2017
San Francisco —Today, the New Orleans-based group A Community Voice and the Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stick to a firm and final deadline for compliance with the Formaldehyde Emissions Standards for wood products made, imported and sold in the United States.

The unlawfully-postponed standards limit the amount of hazardous formaldehyde gas that can be released from various types of wood products, including materials often used in emergency housing and inexpensive furniture.

Congress passed in 2009—and President Barack Obama signed in 2010—a law requiring the EPA to issue a final rule by 2013, limiting formaldehyde emissions from certain wood products, but EPA missed the deadline. Although EPA finally published the formaldehyde standards in December 2016, with compliance required one year later, the Trump administration recently extended the compliance deadlines by one additional year.

Today’s lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. It charges that the EPA’s extension oversteps the agency’s authority and is illegal.

Formaldehyde is used to bind plywood, particleboard and other wood products used in a wide array of consumer products, such as paneling, flooring, cabinets, furniture and recreational vehicles (RVs). It is a carcinogen that also causes or exacerbates respiratory ailments, and was blamed for numerous illnesses among Gulf Coast residents housed in travel trailers and mobile homes supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

“It is outrageous that people recovering from this year’s hurricanes might have to deal with the same health issues in their emergency housing that the EPA has known about—and was supposed to address—years ago,” said Earthjustice attorney Patti Goldman. “It is long past time to put an end to cheap, imported wood products that needlessly make people sick.”

Members of Louisiana’s A Community Voice have witnessed these health problems firsthand.

“Formaldehyde is so dangerous for our health that A Community Voice is fighting to have it regulated more, not less,” said Debra Campbell, A Community Voice secretary-treasurer. “We believe that many of us have had harms to our health due to living in FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina, including my own mother’s suffering from COPD. We need more regulation of toxins, not less. Thankfully, Earthjustice is on the case.”

The Sierra Club has been involved with this issue for a decade, in dialogue with such groups as the Composite Panel Association and the nonprofit National Center for Healthy Housing to make California’s tough, state formaldehyde standards the federal requirement.

“It is completely unacceptable that the EPA is attempting to delay this lifesaving, commonsense rule that will protect families’ health and safety and create jobs here at home,” said Leslie Fields, director of the Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships Program. “The very last thing people who are recovering from natural disasters should have to worry about is whether their housing is making them sick.”

It is critical that the EPA no longer be allowed to drag its feet and continue to allow the use of dangerous wood products that harm people’s health.

Read the legal document.

For More information


A Community Voice Wins Filters in New Orleans Schools

A Community Voice pressed this issue with the School Board, notably members Nolan Marshall and John Brown, and later at a school board meeting. In its September 17, 2017, in an official meeting, the OPSB committed to test its schools. 5 schools were separately tested based on a commitment made by the Principal at First Lines Schools to A Community Voice, who asked Dr. Katner to direct the testing. None of which showed significant lead in the water. The schools are: Green, Wheatley, B-Net, Clark and Ashe. Please see Dr. Katner’s analysis in this fine article, about the reliability of lead testing in water. In fact, local/international expert Dr. Howard Mielke states that over a long period of time, even the smallest amounts of lead can severely damage the brain. Adding certified faucet filters should be encouraged at all institutions and homes with appropriate replacement of spent filters, as indicated by the filter light.



ACV and Justice and Beyond to City Pay Residents for Flooding Damages

Save our City Rally

Compensate Residents for Damages

Fix the Pumps!

Due to the flooding and recent and continued failures of our pumping systems and the failure of our elected officials to be honest with us about the state of the draining systems in New Orleans, ACV and Justice & Beyond are joining with residents throughout the City at a Protest to demand adequate water management from the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans and compensate residents for flooding damages to property.

Saturday August 19th
Front of New Orleans City Hall

1300 Perdido

(bring your umbrella and cold water)



Annual Lake Charles Housing & Community Fair Will be Held October 28th

A Community Voice, in conjunction with our sister organization, Southern United Neighborhoods is hosting a housing, jobs, health care and small business fair for residents interested in owning their own homes, fixing their own home, buying rental property and receiving information on needed social services and job opportunities. SUN’s program works with the City of Lake Charles.

Our annual housing fairs:

*supports one to one credit counseling

*supports special programs for low income families including free housing rehab and annually connects over 1000 families to affordable housing programs

*provides annual grassroots outreach to over 300,000 families, with information about our programs and of our sponsoring organizations

*connects residents to area businesses and services

Southern United Neighborhoods (SUN) will host the special Housing, Jobs, Healthcare, and Small Business Fair, Saturday October 28th from 10am to 1pm at the Allen P. August Multipurpose Center at 2001 Moeling Street in Lake Charles, LA.

This event will draw over 300 families.

As an organization and business that the community needs to know about and participate in, we would very much appreciate your sponsorship of the upcoming fair. Sponsorship of the fair includes: literature and a table at our event, listing as a sponsor in all publicity, including media, flyers, and other outreach vehicles to churches, schools and PSAs. Name and logo will be placed on 50,000 flyers.

Please fill out the attached information if you are interested in participating in our fair. Feel free to call us at 800-239-7379 or email or if you have additional questions or would like to meet with us about our organization.

Sign up form for small businesses & organizations.


Candidate Forum for New Orleans City Council Races

August 4th, 2017

A Community Voice hosted at Candidate Forum in New Orleans for New Orleans City Council Candidates for District E and City Council at Large Division 1 at Trinity Lutheran Church 5234 N. Claiborne on Friday August 4th, 2017.

It was a very spirited event with many questions from the audience. Thanks to all those who attended.



Campaign Forum for Candidates for New Orleans City Council District E and Div 1, At-Large

What does the 9th Ward Want?


New Orleans—A Community Voice (ACV), Ninth Ward Chapters will conduct a Candidate forum for District E and Div. 1, City Council races this Friday, August 4, 2017, at 6:00 p.m., at 5234 N. Claiborne at Egania in the old Trinity Lutheran Church, to raise critical issues to the 9th ward.

The meeting is held in the Lower 9th ward to highlight the area of District E that has been “forgotten in the current City Council forums that tend to relate to New Orleans East”, stated leaders from A Community Voice who chair the event:   Secretary Treasurer Debra Campbell, Lower 9th Ward Co-Chair Gwendolyn Adams, and Member Organizer Jo Jackson.

“But there are many issues that intertwine the neighborhoods of the 9th and 8th wards ward including the fight led by A Community Voice against the industrialization project of the state to forge a new freeway on Florida Ave from the Port of St Bernard Parish to Elysian Fields. Further, the expansion in the 9th ward, of the Industrial Canal is a dangerous unnecessary Trump reprioritized infrastructure project that would also threaten St. Bernard and Plaquemines Parishes. There is widespread belief that both projects will diminish the quality of life in predominately black residential 8th and 9th wards of New Orleans,” said Debra Campbell, Chairperson, ACV-Ninth Ward Chapter. A lack of remedies for Blight control and employment projects also lead the list, with increased taxes, gentrification and crime that has seniors afraid to leave their homes, and more.