mark! Lopez of EYCEJ wins Goldman Environmental Prize!

Photo: Courtesy EYCEJ: Mark! Lopez, Dr. Robert Bullard, Taylor Thomas, and Zully Juarez

mark! Lopez, executive director of MFN member East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (EYCEJ) was awarded the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize yesterday.

mark! is a third generation resident of East L.A, and member of a family with a long history of community activism.  His grandparents cofounded Madres del Este de Los Angeles Santa Isabel (Mothers of  East LA Santa Isabel – MELASI), and he has continued that tradition through years of work with the EYCEJ.

The Goldman Environmental Prize is widely viewed as the highest environmental accolade possible.  It “honors grassroots environmental heroes from the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America” for “sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment…”

To learn more, check out the video and linked news articles below, and read about his award at The Goldman Environmental Prize.

Congratulations mark! Lopez!!

Estadounidense Mark López gana el premio ambiental Goldman 2017 por liderar lucha contra la contaminación de plomo y arsénico en Los Ángeles, Univision

 Goldman Environmental Prize winners work hard to protect planet, SFGate

Margaret Gordon and other EJ speakers at Oakland Voices for Trade Justice: A NAFTA Town Hall – April 20

One of the founders of the Moving Forward Network and most accomplished EJ activists in the U.S., Margaret Gordon, is going to speak on Thursday, April 20 in Oakland about the pollution caused by freight transportation in communities of color, and share lessons learned on how to improve community health.  Her presentation and talks by three other outstanding speakers makes this a “must-attend” event.  Sign up today!

Received by email:

ANNOUNCED! Youth, Public Health, Enviro Justice Speakers @
4/20 Oakland Voices for Trade Justice: A NAFTA Town Hall 

 CaptureWe’re excited to announce a powerful line-up of multi-generational speakers at our April 20 trade justice forum, including activists from the immigration rights, youth, environmental justice, and public health communities.

 

“Migration is Beautiful” butterfly graphic courtesy of Favianna Rodriguez.

RSVP Today! Don’t miss these dynamic presenters:

  • Margaret Gordon, a veteran African-American environmental justice organizer with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project. She’ll speak to the pollution impacts of trade-related freight transport through low-income communities of color and share about opportunities to improve community health.

  • Joell Echevarria, an African-American youth social justice organizer with Hip Hop for Change and Rooted in Resilience. He will speak on the economic insecurity faced by young adults of color in Oakland.

  • Gerardo Omar Marín, who serves as Co-Director of Rooted in Community and Youth Program Director of The Pollination Project. Rooted in traditional Mexican healing art, agriculture, and music, Gerardo has dedicated his service to boost the power and unity in inter-cultural youth, social justice, and Mother Earth and will speak to the impacts NAFTA has had on Mexico.

  • Malinda Markowitz, Co-President of the California Nurses Association, the state’s premiere organization of registered nurses and a leading advocate of guaranteed healthcare by expanding and updating Medicare to cover all Americans. Malinda will speak about the threats to affordable medicines posed by new monopoly patents that corporations are seeking through new trade schemes.

EVENT SUMMARY: NAFTA has failed people across North America, and unless working people and communities are at the table, Trump’s renegotiation plans could make it even worse. Join the California Trade Justice Coalition for an engaging discussion of the devastating impacts NAFTA has had on workers, migrants, and the environment, hear from local leaders fighting for economic justice, and learn how we can take action to make sure NAFTA renegotiations truly benefit people and the environment.

WHERE: Citizen Engagement Lab, 1330 Broadway, 3rd Floor, Oakland

WHEN: Thursday, April 20th from 6:00 – 8:00 pm

RSVP: Click here to secure your spot!

Cosponsors: California Nurses Association, California Trade Justice Coalition, Citizens Trade Campaign, Friends of the Earth, Global Exchange, Rooted in Resilience, Sierra Club, California Labor Federation

Toward a more just, vibrant, and sustainable future for us all,

Aaron Lehmer-Chang
Director
California Trade Justice Coalition
A Citizens Trade Campaign affiliate
Will Wiltschko
Lead Organizer
California Trade Justice Coalition
A Citizens Trade Campaign affiliate

 More About California Trade Justice News & Alerts

California Trade Justice News is a quarterly publication of the California Trade Justice Coalition (CTJC), a project of Earth Island Institute, and proud affiliate of the Citizens Trade Campaign. The CTJC is a new coalition of labor, environmental, family farm, public health, immigrant rights, human rights, pro-democracy, and socially conscious business leaders — all committed to building a strong California economy that works for all.

PUBLISHER: Aaron Lehmer-Chang, ED

CONTRIBUTORS: Will Wiltschko, Lead Organizer, Jake Soiffer, Social Media & Communications Intern

Like us on Facebook! | Follow us on Twitter! | Support our efforts today!

CONTACT INFO:

California Trade Justice Coalition
436 14th Street, Suite 1216
Oakland, CA  94612
Web: www.catradejustice.org

Zero emissions truck manufacturers working to run dirty diesel off the road

Photo: East Bay Express.

Zero emissions Class 8 heavy-duty Class 8 18-wheelers are a reality today.  The innovative Kansas City company Orange EV is the first and only company to make all-electric big rigs commercially available.  Their electric terminal trucks are operating throughout the country.

However, over-the-road electric Class 8 trucks are another story – to date only prototype and demonstration zero emissions Class 8 trucks capable of operating on public highways have been produced.

But, the marketplace is changing rapidly, and other companies, some established and some new, are jumping into the fray.  As a result, within a few years we may see a strong shift from dirty diesel to zero-emissions trucking on public highways.  A few examples, followed by references for more information:

As we reported late last year in Nikola announces “The end of diesel engines”… electric Class 8 heavy-duty trucks using power generated by hydrogen fuel cells will be truly zero-emissions if the hydrogen is generated by solar energy.  Nikola Motors has an ambitious and innovative plan to do that on the national level by 2020, with solar-powered refueling stations on major truck routes throughout the country.  Their solution has a number of other innovative features, and they have produced a very impressive demonstration vehicle.

By the end of 2016, Nikola reported that they had received over 7,000 preorders worth over $2 billion.

“Say goodbye to the days of dirty diesel…” 

                                                             Trevor Milton, CEO of Nikola Motor Company

Mercedes-Benz is also moving into this market, and has promised to deliver prototypes of its all-electric mid-range (124 miles) Urban eTruck this year, and produce it commercially in 2020.

Last week, two more firms joined the zero emissions trucking race – Tesla announced that they have an electric semi under production, and Toyota developed a prototype hydrogen-electric drayage truck for use at the Port of Los Angeles.

For the latest news, check out the articles below.

Rail Management Services Orders 9 More Orange EV T-Series All-Electric Yard Trucks, CleanTechnica

Big Rigs to Pickups — Toyota Could Develop Full Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck Line, Trucks.com

Mercedes’ electric Urban eTruck will hit the road this year, Road Show

Toyota Rolls Out Hydrogen Semi Ahead Of Tesla’s Electric Truck, Forbes

Morgan Stanley likes the idea of a Tesla semi-truck, Business Insider

New evidence links particulate matter air pollution to breast cancer

Image source: National Breast Cancer Foundation

The linkage between particulate matter and cancer is well established.  For example, in 2012, the World Health Organization identified diesel exhaust, one of the chief sources of particulate matter in many cities, as a carcinogen,  and a study last year associated exposure to fine particulate matter with “sharply higher mortality rates from cancers of the breast, the upper digestive tract and other organs.”

New research by University of Florida scientists strengthens the science behind the linkage.   Their study of over 250,000 women living in the U.S. found that those with very dense breast tissue, a well-established and strong breast cancer risk factor, are about 20 percent more likely to live in areas with high levels of particulate matter.  According to Lusine Yaghjyan, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., the lead author of the study, “Chemical components in

According to Lusine Yaghjyan, the lead author of the study, this may be caused by toxins delivered by the particulate matter. “Chemical components in particulate matter could influence breast density by interfering with normal tissue growth, thus increasing the amount of fibroglandular tissue in the breast and, subsequently, breast density.”

Learn more about the study here:

Higher air pollution exposure linked to denser breast tissue, University of Florida

Link between air pollution and breast cancer discovered, International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics

EPA Webinar – Easy Modeling to Assess and Address Near-Road Air Quality – April 20

We received the notice below by email from the EPA Environmental Justice Listserv.  For a heads up on what how their modeling tool works and what it does, check out this video.

 

UPCOMING WEBINAR

Easy Modeling to Assess and Address Near-Road Air Quality

Thursday 20 April 2017 at 2pm – 3:30pm Eastern

Register Here Today!

Summary

Sometimes the groups most exposed to near-road air pollution are also the most disadvantaged and marginalized to do something about it. Land values near roads are typically devalued because of noise, pollution, and visual blight. Long-term exposure to near-road pollution can have serious health effects, contributing to diseases such as cancer and respiratory illness; and short term exposure can exacerbate existing conditions, like childhood asthma attacks. Children, elderly, and folks with pre-existing conditions are especially sensitive to roadway pollution.

This webinar will present the Community-LINE Source Model (C-LINE) (https://www.epa.gov/healthresearch/community-line-source-model-c-line-estimate-roadway-emissions): a scientifically sound, near-road air pollution model that plays almost like a video game, available to any user with a computer or tablet.

C-LINE allows users to not only evaluate what is going on in their local area, but also what might happen if things change, such as from increases in traffic or diesel trucks cutting through town. Users can easily manipulate model inputs to also examine upwind and downwind effects, or estimate the areas most influenced annually by near-road pollution. In addition to roads, railways and railyards, ports, ships, and industrial sources also influence near-source neighborhoods.

The model is being further developed to include these and other sources for public use. Would you use this model? How? How might we help you do that? Learn more in this interactive webinar!

C-Line Webinar – Estimating Roadway Emissions in Communities with EJ Concerns

Speakers

  • Betsy Smith is a research biologist in the EPA Office of Research and Development. She has worked for the Agency for 20 years primarily in the areas of interdisciplinary science using spatial analysis to identify patterns and trends that can inform local- to national-scale decision-making. Betsy is currently the lead for EPA’s Sustainable Port Communities Study.

  • Tim Barzyk is a research scientist at the EPA. Tim works with community organizations, state and local agencies, EPA Regions and Program Offices, and academic partners to develop and apply near-source air quality models, citizen science portable sensor technologies, and decision analysis methods for use in local scale environmental health assessments. While focused on environmental health, his research acknowledges that local values and knowledge about social, environmental, and economic conditions must inform the assessment process in order to support evidence-based decision making by local residents, policy makers, or commercial interests to improve environmental conditions.

  • Vlad Isakov is a research scientist at the EPA. His current research focuses on the development and testing through applications and innovative approaches to model spatially and temporally resolved air quality concentrations in support of exposure and health studies.

000955


If you are not already a member, the Office of Environmental Justice would like to invite you to join the EJ ListServ. The purpose of this information tool is to notify individuals about activities at EPA in the field of environmental justice. By subscribing to this list you will receive information on EPAs activities, programs, projects grants and about environmental justice activities at other agencies. Noteworthy news items, National meeting announcements, meeting summaries of NEJAC meetings, and new publication notices will also be distributed. Postings can only be made by the Office of Environmental Justice. To request an item to be posted, send your request to environmental-justice@epa.gov and indicate in the subject “Post to EPA-EJ ListServ”

Environmental justice leader Charles Lee honored by the State of South Carolina

Charles Lee small photoEnvironmental Justice leader Charles Lee was honored by the State of South Carolina House of Representatives on the occasion of his Keynote address at Building the Bridge to Environmental Equity: Lessons from Two Decades of Partnership, sponsored by the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

The House Resolution honoring Mr. Lee included an excellent summary of his impressive accomplishments:

 

House Bill 3732

A HOUSE RESOLUTION TO RECOGNIZE AND HONOR CHARLES LEE, THE SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AT THE UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA), AND TO WELCOME HIM TO THE PALMETTO STATE AS THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SERVICES SEMINAR.

Whereas, the South Carolina House of Representatives is pleased to learn that Charles Lee will be the keynote speaker at the University of South Carolina School of Public Health and Department of Environmental Health Services Seminar on Wednesday, February 15, 2017; and

Whereas, widely recognized as an actual pioneer of environmental justice, he was the principal author of the groundbreaking report, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States; and

Whereas, Mr. Lee helped to spearhead the emergence of a national environmental justice movement and federal action that included the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, Executive Order 12898, the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), and the Federal Interagency Working Group on Environmental Justice; and

Whereas, in his role as the senior policy advisor for Environmental Justice at the EPA, he leads the development and implementation of the EPA’s agency-wide environmental justice strategic plans; and

Whereas, Mr. Lee served as a charter member of the NEJAC, where he chaired its Waste and Facility Siting committee; served on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Environmental Justice and other panels; and led efforts to incorporate environmental justice into EPA’s rulemaking process, develop models for collaborative problem-solving, transform brownfields’ redevelopment into a community revitalization paradigm, advance approaches to address cumulative risks and impacts, and lay a strong science foundation for integrating environmental justice into decision-making; and

Whereas, from the inception of the South Carolina Department of Health and Pollution Control, he has been an avid supporter of its efforts to promote community involvement, environmental justice, and community revitalization, and has also been a keen advocate of the remarkable achievements of the ReGenesis Environmental Justice partnership in Spartanburg; and

Whereas, Mr. Lee’s prolific work over the past three decades, including copious papers, reports, journals, and articles on environmental justice, has earned him many awards, such as the EJ Pioneer Award from the EPA Administrator on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 12898; and

Whereas, the South Carolina House of Representatives appreciates the significant contributions of Charles Lee to environmental justice in the United States and in the Palmetto State, and the members welcome him as he addresses the University of South Carolina School of Public Health and Department of Environmental Health Services Seminar. Now, therefore,

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives:

That the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives, by this resolution, recognize and honor Charles Lee, the senior policy advisor for Environmental Justice at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and welcome him to the Palmetto State as the keynote speaker at the University of South Carolina School of Public Health and Department of Environmental Health Services Seminar.

Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be presented to Charles Lee.

Air pollution exposure may increase risk of dementia

The excellent article below, published with the permission of the authors, makes a strong case that exposure to particulate matter may cause one in five cases of dementia, and includes links to lots of additional information.

The article doesn’t focus on the sources of particulate matter or the fact that diesel particulate matter is particularly dangerous, since it typically includes over 40 toxins.  For more on that subject, see Overview: Diesel Exhaust and Health, by the California Air Resources Board.

——————————————-

 

Caleb Finch, University of Southern California and Jiu-Chiuan Chen, University of Southern California

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disease that eventually strips sufferers of their ability to remember, communicate and live independently. By 2050, it is projected to affect nearly 14 million Americans and their families, with an economic cost of one trillion dollars – more than the estimated combined total for treating heart disease and cancer. The Conversation

Of the leading causes of death in America, Alzheimer’s disease is the only one that we currently cannot prevent, cure or even stall. Our latest research seeks to change this situation by providing a better understanding of the environmental causes and mechanisms behind the disease.

Our findings lead us to conclude that outdoor air pollution, in the form of tiny particles released from power plants and automobiles that seep into our lungs and blood, could nearly double the dementia risk in older women. If our results are applicable to the general population, fine particulate pollution in the ambient air may be responsible for about one out of every five cases of dementia.

This study, the first to combine human epidemiologic investigation with animal experiments, adds to a growing body of research from around the world that links air pollution to dementia. It also provides the first scientific evidence that a critical Alzheimer’s risk gene, APOE4, interacts with air particles to accelerate brain aging.

Where there’s smoke

Previous research at the University of Southern California has already established that air pollution accelerates the risk of having a heart attack. Based on this work, we established the AirPollBrain Group to examine whether and how exposure to fine particulate matter – known as PM2.5 because the particles measure 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter – impacts the aging brain.


Click to zoom.
USEPA

We designed this study to answer three broad questions. First, we wanted to know whether older people living in locations with higher levels of outdoor PM2.5 have an increased risk for cognitive impairment, especially dementia. We also wanted to know whether people who carry the high-risk gene for Alzheimer’s disease, APOE4, are more sensitive to the damage potentially caused by long-term exposure to PM2.5 in the air.

Our third question was whether similar findings could be observed with controlled exposures to particles in mice modified to carry human Alzheimer’s disease genes. If we found similar effects in mice, it could shed light on possible mechanisms underlying what is happening in human brains.

We focused on older women and female mice because APOE4 confers a greater Alzheimer’s disease risk in women than in men.

Human subjects

For the human epidemiologic study component, we collaborated with investigators from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, or WHIMS, which followed a large group of older women nationwide, starting in the late 1990s when these women were 65 to 79 years old but did not have dementia or any significant cognitive impairment.

We combined EPA monitoring data and air quality simulations to build a mathematical model that allowed us to estimate the everyday outdoor PM2.5 level in various locations where these women lived from 1999 through 2010. Because the WHIMS followed its study participants very closely, we were able to gather detailed information on other factors that may affect an individual’s risk for dementia, such as smoking, exercise, body mass index, hormone therapy and other clinical risk factors like diabetes and heart disease. This allowed us to account for these other factors and better isolate the effects of air pollution exposure.

We found that women exposed to higher levels of PM2.5 had faster rates of cognitive decline and a higher risk of developing dementia. Older women living in places where PM2.5 levels exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s standard had an 81 percent greater risk of global cognitive decline and were 92 percent more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s. This environmental risk raised by long-term PM2.5 exposure was two to three times higher among older women with two copies of the APOE4 gene, compared with women who had only the background genetic risk with no APOE4 gene.

Nonattainment areas are not meeting the EPA standard. Areas designated unclassifiable do not have enough verified monitoring data to show they are meeting the standard, but are working with EPA to improve their data.
USEPA

Mouse models

For the laboratory studies, we exposed female mice with Alzheimer genes to nano-sized air pollution for 15 weeks. The air particle collection technology, invented by our colleague Constantinos Sioutas from USC’s Viterbi School of Engineering, collects air particles from the edge of USC’s campus as a representative air sample from urban areas.

The experimental data showed that mice systematically exposed to this particulate matter accumulated larger deposits of proteins called beta-amyloid in their brains. In humans, beta-amyloid is considered as a pathological driver of neurodegeneration and is a major target of therapeutic interventions to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s or slow its progress. Similar to our epidemiologic observation in older women, these effects were stronger for APOE4 female mice, which are predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease.

Future studies

Our future studies will look at whether these findings also apply to men, and whether any drugs under development may provide protection against air pollution exposure. More work is also needed to confirm a causal relationship and to understand how air pollution enters and harms the brain.

Brain aging from exposure to air pollution may start at development, so we also want to look at early life exposure to air pollution in relation to Alzheimer’s disease. We already know that obesity and diabetes are Alzheimer’s risk factors. We also know that children who live closer to freeways tend to be more obese, an effect that is compounded if adults in the household are smokers.

Based on existing mouse models, one would predict that developmental exposure to air pollution could increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease. This is an important piece of the scientific puzzle that we’d like to better understand.

Air pollution, public health and policies

Air pollution knows no borders. This gives our study global implications that should be taken seriously by policymakers and public health officials.

The Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency to develop National Ambient Air Quality Standards that provide an adequate margin of safety to protect sensitive populations, such as children and the elderly. In 2012 the EPA tightened the U.S. standard for PM2.5. Nonetheless, in 2015 nearly 24 million people lived in counties that still had unhealthful year-round levels of particle pollution, and over 41 million lived in counties that experienced short-term pollution spikes.

Recent studies have shown that the prevalence of dementia in the United States declined between 2000 and 2012. However, we don’t know whether this trend is connected to air pollution regulations, or if exposures to lower levels of PM2.5 in recent years still pose some degree of long-term threat to older Americans, especially those at risk for dementia.

If long-term PM2.5 exposure indeed increases the risk for dementia, this would imply that public health organizations are underestimating the already large disease burden and health care costs associated with air pollution. For instance, the World Health Organization’s latest assessment of the global burden of disease caused by PM2.5 does not include dementia. Air pollution levels are much higher in India, China and many other developing nations than U.S. levels.

The World Health Organization recommends reducing PM 2.5 to an annual average of 10 micrograms per cubic meter.
Phoenix 7777/Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

Similarly, EPA has estimated that the Clean Air Act will provide almost US$2 trillion in benefits between 1990 and 2020, much of it from reduced deaths and illnesses. If there is a connection between particulate pollution and dementia, the Clean Air Act may be providing even larger benefits than EPA’s estimate.

The U.S. National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which was mandated by legislation enacted in 2011, aims to prevent or effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. We believe any measures that undermine EPA’s operation or loosen clear air regulations will have unintended consequences that will make it challenging to meet this goal.

Caleb Finch, University Professor, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California and Jiu-Chiuan Chen, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

MFN members and others to file suit over illegal air pollution

News released yesterday by MFN members Environmental Integrity Project and Clean Air Council 

 

Pollution from Pittsburgh-area Allegheny Ludlum Plant Far Exceeded Clean Air Act Limits, Threatening Public Health

Pittsburgh, Pa. — Four environmental organizations today provided notice that they intend to sue owners of a steel plant in Western Pennsylvania for violating the federal Clean Air Act by releasing far more pollution than a permit for the plant allows.

The Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), PennEnvironment, the Environmental Integrity Project and the Clean Air Council are taking action against the Allegheny Ludlum plant in Brackenridge, about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

Capture

Check out the video from Pittsburg TV station WTAE

“Allegheny Ludlum has been breaking air pollution laws for 15 years, and we’ve all been breathing their illegal emissions,” said Rachel Filippini, Executive Director of GASP. “Our region is already struggling to attain National Ambient Air Quality Standards, so there should be no tolerance for companies that play loose with the laws and with our health.”

The steel plant has exceeded legal limits from a 2002 permit for nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, particulate matter (or soot), and carbon monoxide since installing a new pair of electric arc furnaces in 2003 and 2004.

These pollutants worsen ground-level ozone (also known as smog) and increase the risk of heart attacks, lung disease and asthma hospitalizations. Importantly, Allegheny County, where the plant is located, is out of compliance with federal standards for ozone and particulate matter.

But instead of cracking down on the pollution from the plant, the Allegheny County Health Department last year tried to let the owners of the plant off the hook by issuing a new draft permit that would significantly raise the allowable levels of pollution. The plant is owned by Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Ludlum, LLC, ATI Flat Rolled Products Holdings, LLC, and Allegheny Technologies Incorporated.

To stop the dangerous emissions, a coalition of environmental organizations objected to the county’s proposed changes to the permit last fall. And then today, the groups filed a notice of intent to sue Allegheny Ludlum for violating the terms of the 2002 air pollution control permit for the plant.

“This is about protecting the health of everyone who lives downwind from this plant,” said Patton Dycus, Senior Attorney for the Environmental Integrity Project, which represents GASP and PennEnvironment in the legal action. “Illegal air pollution is not something that we should ignore, because it can literally kill–especially the elderly, young and people suffering from lung or heart diseases.”

Joseph Otis Minott, Executive Director of the Clean Air Council, said: “Longstanding noncompliance with air emissions limitations is unacceptable as a matter of law and policy. The facility has imposed an unnecessary health burden on a county already suffering from considerable air pollution problems.”

“Clean air is a right, not a privilege,” said PennEnvironment’s Pittsburgh organizer Stephen Riccardi. “We owe it to the children of Pittsburgh, those who suffer from respiratory problems and future generations to do everything in our power to rein in illegal polluters who put them at risk.”

There is no doubt that the plant has been violating the terms of its 2002 air pollution control permit, because both Allegheny Ludlum and county health department officials have recently noted in public records that the plant has not met its permit limits.

Although the 2002 permit required Allegheny Ludlum to test the emissions from its electric arc furnaces in 2016, Allegheny Ludlum failed to do so, which prevented local residents and environmental organizations from obtaining more information about the continuing violations at the plant.

The Clean Air Act allows concerned citizens to sue polluters when government regulators refuse–or do not have the resources–to enforce the law. At least 60 days before such a suit is filed, citizens must provide notice of their intent to sue.

In this case, the environmental groups plan to sue Allegheny Ludlum to require the company to pay penalties and take action to come into compliance with the plant’s permit, either by installing up-to-date equipment or by improving operations to reduce pollution.

The county has yet to issue a type of Clean Air Act permit for the plant, called a “Title V” operating permit, although it was required to do so almost 15 years ago. Those permits are supposed to contain monitoring requirements that allow citizens and regulators to regularly ensure that facilities are meeting their limits. The county’s 2002 permit for the plant’s electric arc furnaces does not include the kind of monitoring requirements that would be mandated by a Title V permit, which would have brought the violations to light much earlier.

The Environmental Integrity Project is a 15-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, based in Washington, D.C., that is dedicated to the enforcement of environmental laws and holding polluters and governments accountable to protect public health.

GASP (Group Against Smog and Pollution) is a Pittsburgh-based environmental non-profit founded in 1969 and dedicated to improving air quality in southwestern Pennsylvania and surrounding regions.

Clean Air Council is a member-supported, non-profit environmental organization serving Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic Region. The Council is dedicated to protecting and defending everyone’s right to a healthy environment. For over 50 years the Council has worked through a broad array of related sustainability and public health initiatives, using public education, community action, government oversight, and enforcement of environmental laws.

PennEnvironment is a citizen-based environmental advocacy group working to promote clean air, clean water and protect our natural heritage. To find out more, visit www.PennEnvironment.org.

Save the date for the 4th International Moving Forward Network Conference – October 13-14

This is an educational conference that will provide data, insights and shared practices to create more effective policies and strategies for communities impacted by ports, rail yards, intermodal facilities, distribution centers, trucking routes and other goods movement activities.

To receive more information, sign up here.

 

MFN 4th National Conference

 

Environmental justice leader Mustafi Ali resigns from EPA

Mustafa Ali, leader of Environmental Justice at the U.S. EPA, announced his resignation on Thursday, in the face of Trump administration plans to gut the program.

“How can you have a positive role in communities if you are proposing rolling back regulations and cutting resources? These grants are important to these communities when you talk about rolling it back, it tells me these communities are not a priority and I can not be a part of that,” (Source: CNN)

Ali started with the EPA as an intern, and was one of the founding members of the EPA Environmental Justice program.  He worked with over 500 communities during his career, including many Moving Forward Network members, to secure environmental, health and economic justice. A few photos from his work with the Moving Forward Network are below.

Angelo Logan, campaign director of the Moving Forward Network said, “We deeply regret Mustafa Ali’s resignation and the conditions at EPA under Scott Pruitt that caused him to resign. With Ali’s assistance, the Moving Forward Network had moved EPA to agree to develop a working group to look for zero emissions solutions that would reduce the deadly effects of diesel exhaust on the millions of Americans living in neighborhoods near our ports, freight facilities, and truck transportation corridors.”

Ali will remain active in Environmental Justice as senior vice president of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization at the Hip Hop Caucus, a nonprofit civil and human rights group that connects the hip hop community to the civic process to build power and create positive change. For more information about Mustafa Ali, the reasons for his resignation, and his new position, see the references below.

EPA environmental justice leader resigns, amid White House plans to dismantle program, Washington Post

EPA veteran quits, says Trump admin isn’t supporting ‘vulnerable communities’, CNN

Chief Environmental Justice Official at EPA Resigns, With Plea to Pruitt to Protect Vulnerable Communities, Inside Climate News

EPA’s Environmental Justice Head Resigned After 24 Years. He Wants to Explain Why, Mother Earth News

The Hip Hop Caucus Announces Mustafa Santiago Ali as the Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization, Hip Hop Caucus

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