FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2017
Contact: Brooke Havlik, 212-961-1000 ext. 320, firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK, NY— During an explosive press conference yesterday on a new infrastructure plan, Donald Trump doubled down on defending white supremacy after the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend. He also unveiled a new Executive Order (EO) on infrastructure which dealt a major blow to communities of color, indigenous, and frontline communities nationwide. The White House’s new infrastructure plan is yet another red alert for communities who disproportionately live near toxic highways, pipelines, and incinerators, or are at higher risk from the impacts of sea-level rise.
Two major concerns for environmental justice communities include:
- Inadequate Environmental Reviews: The president announced he would take significant steps to “removing roadblocks to infrastructure improvements.” Citing his fast-track approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline, he seeks to make the environmental review process, “more efficient and effective.” The Dakota Access Pipeline was approved in January without proper consultation with local tribes or adequate environmental review, threatening sacred sites, water quality, and the climate.
- Revoke of Flood Protection Standards: The president revoked the Federal Flood Protection Standard, a relatively new standard enacted by the Obama Administration. The standard requires all federal agencies to take into account the risks of increased flooding and sea-level rise when building government projects, which could include schools, public housing, and veteran hospitals. The standard removal comes on the fifth year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, and after NOAA found 2016 had the highest sea levels ever reported.
In response to the Executive Order on Infrastructure, Dr. Adrienne Hollis, Director of Federal Policy at WE ACT for Environmental Justice issued the following statement:
“We cannot separate Donald Trump’s lack of condemnation on white supremacy with his lack of concern or action for communities of color facing environmental and climate injustices across the United States. Since slavery, we have lived within a system that frequently puts profit over human rights and community health. Yesterday’s decision is no different. Environmental justice communities are often grossly underfunded in comparison to corporate interests. If it wasn’t clear enough already, by speeding up the environmental review process with less time and resources for community input, Trump has drawn a clear line in the sand on where he stands and who he fights for. Environmental justice communities will be more vulnerable than they already are to environmental risks and climate change with this new Executive Order.”