Environmental Justice Groups Across U.S. Support EPA’s Reconsideration of Existing Gas Emissions Rule

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 29, 2024
Contacts: Ashley Sullivan, ashley.sullivan@weact.org, & Jama Joseph, jama.joseph@weact.org

WASHINGTONToday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in a vital move that they would reevaluate emissions from existing fossil fuel powered gas plants in a supplemental rulemaking. This supplemental rule will allow for a necessary environmental justice analysis and cumulative impacts consideration in the proposal. In response, Clean Air for the Long Haul, convened by WE ACT, a cohort of environmental justice organizations from across the U.S. who have been advocating for clean air through “Dare to Breathe” campaign issued the following statement: 

“Today, we applaud the EPA for taking our lived environmental injustices into account to reassess existing gas in a supplementary rulemaking. Our families and friends, our communities, and our ancestors have suffered for generations with the reality of toxic air pollution and the increasingly dangerous and deadly conditions of the climate crisis. Communities of color and low-income people have historically hosted the greatest amount of polluting facilities, including a majority of the nation’s fossil fuel-derived power sector – the second most carbon-emitting system. In effect, our communities have become sacrifice zones, where the health and well-being of residents are traded for profit. This reevaluation sets a strong precedent to make things right and for future rulings to properly investigate these issues. By taking into consideration the environmental justice implications for this critical segment of the power sector, including the cumulative impacts, communities of color have a chance to breathe clean air, as is our right as citizens and as human beings. At the same time, the climate crisis is fully upon us and we strongly believe that climate mitigation and climate justice go hand in hand – this ruling reflects a shared vision and urgency to act by the EPA.

We are looking forward to a transparent, decisive, and prioritized timetable to finalize this supplemental rule, and seek any and all opportunities to provide research, perspectives and expertise to the EPA to help shape the most thoughtful regulations and enforcement possible.” 

Arif Ullah, Executive Director, South Bronx Unite and member of Clean Air for the Long Haul shared the following, 

“As a community that has borne the brunt of the fossil fuel economy and all of its pollution-related health consequences, we are encouraged by this decision by the EPA. In the South Bronx, we have four gas-powered peak power plants that are running on a regular basis in addition to a host of other polluting facilities, which, taken together, have been poisoning our air, making us sick, and diminishing our quality of life. It is essential that environmental justice and cumulative impacts are considered when evaluating emissions from gas-based plants. Our community’s health and future depends on it.”

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Clean Air for the Long Haul is a nationwide coalition of environmental justice groups working together to win major federal emissions reductions in the power and transportation sectors. Coalition member organizations include: Alternatives for Community and Environment, Clear Air NOW, Coalition of Community Organizations, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Duwamish River Community Coalition, GreenDoor Initiative, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, South Bronx Unite, Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, West End Revitalization Association, and Wisconsin Green Muslims.

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 FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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