On Monday, the EJ Leadership Forum for Climate Change, including MFN members New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance and Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.) released a statement strongly supporting the Clean Power Plan.
Like the Zero Campaign to require ports and rail yards to meet clean air standards, the Clean Power Plan is critical to furthering Environmental Justice. A few highlights from the EJ Forum’s statement:
- One in six African American kids and one in nine Latino kids suffers from asthma.
- Multiple studies show that higher levels of exposure to ambient air pollution among communities of color, which in some cases exceeded the EPA standards, contributed to environmental injustice and highlighted the need for additional strategies for reducing racial/ethnic disparities in air pollution exposure and air pollution-related morbidity and mortality.
- People who have lower incomes face greater risk from air pollution because they live closer to the sources of pollution and are more likely to have diseases that put them at higher risk.
- The findings of a Yale University study add to evidence of a widening racial and economic gap when it comes to air pollution. Communities of color and those with low education and high poverty and unemployment face greater health risks even if their air quality meets federal health standards, according to the article published online in the scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
- More than 22.9 million people with incomes meeting the definition of federal poverty live in counties that received an F for at least one pollutant, with more than 5 million people in poverty living in counties getting an F for both PM2.5 & O3 levels. (American Lung Association. Key Findings 2010-2012(
- Sixty-eight percent of African-Americans, in particular, live within 30 miles of a coal plant.
- 80% of Latinos live in areas that are failing to meet federal EPA Air quality standards.
- A report by the Environmental Protection Agency (the federal agency responsible for protecting the health and welfare of the public) stated that more than 13.8 million people in many urban areas were exposed to cancer risks greater than 100 in a million due to emissions of air toxics from all outdoor sources. Especially emissions from coal fired power plants and other electricity generating sources. Dirty air matters because it impacts how we breathe, and it can exacerbate the existence of chronic diseases like asthma, and other respiratory concerns.