Wrong Direction Environmental Justice Energy Policy

WE ACT for Environmental Justice is proud to present Wrong Direction.” This series dives deep into the tangible and profound impacts of the current U.S. energy policy on individuals residing in environmental justice communities. Exploring the various technologies, legislation, and plans funded through once-in-a-generation spending bills, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, and laid out in the current energy policy of this administration, WE ACT reveals what these mean for environmental justice and the people living on the frontlines.

BACKGROUND:
As the United States aims to seek monitoring and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction, the energy landscape is transforming rapidly. Though there are positive outcomes, including increasing investment in wind and solar, there are also even more investments being made in untested and problematic energy systems, sources, and infrastructure. These investments not only undermine the efforts to reduce carbon and methane emissions, they also reinforce decades of environmental racism that has made sacrificial zones out of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and low income communities. Now is the time to stand together to ensure that we do not fall short of our climate justice promises, and fight discriminatory policies that would continue to harm the health, livelihoods, and dignity of environmental justice communities.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ENERGY AREAS OF FOCUS:

LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS (LNG)

The White House has set a goal of a carbon pollution-free electricity sector by 2035 and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. Unfortunately, they are setting these goals while still green lighting permits for Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) projects in vulnerable frontline communities across the country. This is a form of policy greenwashing that comes at the expense of our lives. Join us and community leaders like Zulene Mayfield, Chairperson of Chester Residents Concerned for Quality Living (CRCQL), who are fighting back against these LNG projects that are destroying neighborhoods and ruining the quality of our air, water, and soil. The United State’s energy policies are going in the #wrongdirection. Learn more here.

CARBON CAPTURE & STORAGE (CCS)

As the administration and lawmakers advance opportunities to “decarbonize” the energy sector—the largest source of climate change-causing greenhouse gases in the U.S.—many communities are given little insight into the plans and technologies marketed as the solution. As a result, environmental justice communities have to navigate a maze of new federal investments in obscure policies and plans. Specifically, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), utilization (CCUS) and direct air capture projects are being rolled out without transparency and our communities are targeted as development zones.

While CCS is being pushed as a way to cut emissions, it’s actually enabling further fossil fuel reliance.

The emergence of carbon management initiatives, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest carbon rule proposal are a major part of the problem. These initiatives are based on the promise of siphoning off greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and industrial facilities, but they often rely more on greenwashing and wishful thinking than on real solutions. They divert focus from the critical need to break free from fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas, that disproportionately burden environmental justice communities.

HYDROGEN

Heather Paul via Flickr

With the Hydrogen Hubs roll-out, Hydrogen is being introduced as a “clean energy” alternative – but this is false advertising. Though some forms of Hydrogen may be necessary for a just transition in areas that are limited in alternatives, the majority of these new projects will be using “Blue Hydrogen,” a form of energy production that “is not emissions-free, partly because of the potential for methane leaks during the production process.” Read more here.

“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.”

– Manuel Salgado, WE ACT for Environmental Justice’s Environmental Justice Research Analyst

 

CARBON CAPTURE & STORAGE (CCS) 

HYDROGEN

  • CLIMATE ACTION CAMPAIGN + WE ACT HYDROGEN PRINCIPLES HERE
  • Testimony for Environmental Protection Agency Hearing on Carbon Pollution Standards HERE

LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS (LNG) 

 

Stay Up To Date