FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2023
Contact: Chris Dobens, firstname.lastname@example.org, 718-679-8542
WASHINGTON – WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s Environmental Justice Research Analyst Manuel Salgado testified on June 15, 2023 at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s public hearing for the Carbon Pollution Standards for Fossil Fuel-Fired Power Plants. Read his testimony below:
“Hello, my name is Manuel Salgado, I am a geoscientist with a remote sensing and atmospheric science background, and I am the environmental justice research analyst for WE ACT for Environmental Justice. We are part of the Clean Air for the Long Haul, a national group of environmental justice organizations working together to put forward campaigns and embed environmental justice in EPA rulemaking within the power and transportation sectors. Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the EPA’s Proposed Carbon Pollution Standards for Fossil Fuel-Fired Power Plants.
“Climate change is quite possibly the largest issue facing humanity as a whole. This crisis recently touched our offices in New York City and Washington, DC one week ago as massive quantities of smoke from record forest fires in Canada turned the skies over the US East Coast orange and made the air quality unsafe to breathe for several days. Communities of color carry an outsized burden when dealing with the problems of our climate crisis, and regulating CO2 emissions from the power sector is a necessary step in ensuring that all Americans are able to live in a future free from the specter of climate change. Unfortunately, Climate Change is merely one of the numerous environmental problems facing many front-line communities today and we are unable to support the current iteration of this rule.
“People living in the shadow of fossil fuel power plants are being asked to accept relief from the climate catastrophe delivered under the shadow of a large-scale buildout of two false solutions: Hydrogen and Carbon Capture. Furthermore, new facilities for these two unproven technologies will be developed and built following the bipartisan gutting of federal permitting protections. Communities of color are begging to be given relief from the dangers posed by fossil fuels and instead they are being asked to once again be sacrificial lambs so that the rest of the country may avoid dangers from climate change. Who amongst the rules supporters will sign up to live next to a carbon storage facility, a power plant utilizing CCS, or CO2 pipeline?
“WE ACT has long maintained that carbon capture is a false solution that is incapable of providing us safety from carbon emissions. It is unclear on what scientific basis we are to believe that this technology can be scaled up to meet the expectations in this proposed rule. There are currently no successful CCS projects that have eliminated 90% of net CO2 emissions at a long running power plant. Projects throughout the world attempting to store captured carbon have consistently failed to meet projections and the dangers posed by carbon transport and sequestration failure are substantial for front line communities.
“A Hydrogen buildout reduces CO2 emissions only if the hydrogen is produced from electrolysis powered by clean energy. A future where power plants are burning hydrogen created from natural gas is an outright environmental justice disaster. Furthermore, power plants fueled by hydrogen continue to emit co-pollutants, such as NOx, which are known to have extensive adverse health effects.
“The orange skies over the East Coast of the United States last week were a stark reminder that climate change is not a problem of the future but one we are dealing with NOW. However, these skies should also serve as a small taste of the dangerous air quality that communities located in proximity to the fossil fuel industry deal with on an everyday basis. Asking environmental justice communities to forgo clean air and safety from the adverse effects of the fossil fuel industry for the climate safety of everyone else is unconscionable and perpetuates environmental injustice.
We strongly urge the EPA to strongly reconsider regulations that utilize these false solutions. Thank you for your time.”
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WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.