NPA Leaders To Deliver 20,000 Signatures at EPA Hearing Calling for Strong Clean Power Plan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18, 2015
CONTACT: Jacob Swenson-Lengyel, firstname.lastname@example.org, 312.316.3973
GRASSROOTS LEADERS CALL ON EPA TO STRENGTHEN EQUITY PROVISIONS IN CLEAN POWER PLAN
DELIVER 20,021 PETITION SIGNATURES CALLING FOR STRONG FEDERAL IMPLEMENTATION AND MODEL PLANS
WASHINGTON, DC – Grassroots members of National People’s Action from Cincinnati, OH, Chicago, IL, and Coney Island, NY traveled to Washington, DC to testify at the Environmental Protection Agency’s third hearing on the Federal Implementation and Model Plans created under the Clean Power Plan. They will testify to the EPA about the direct impact the dirty energy economy and climate change have had on their families, and deliver 20,021 petition signatures calling on EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to strengthen the plans (full petition text below).
While applauding the Clean Power Plan for putting the first ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, NPA leaders are calling on the EPA to go even further to ensure equity for those most impacted by the dirty energy economy and the climate crisis. They say the EPA can do this by strengthening the Federal Implementation Plan so that it protects low income communities and communities of color from pollution and expands access to renewables and clean energy jobs for those communities.
Sandy Lindsey, a leader from NPA affiliate Communities United for Action in Cincinnati, Ohio, is traveling to Washington, DC to testify with her daughter D’Aijha, 9, who suffers from acute asthma. Sandy is from a predominantly African American and low income neighborhood in Cincinnati, which has the 8th worst air quality in the nation.
“When my little girl D’Aijha was just six weeks old, I held her in my arms gasping for breath as she suffered her first asthma attack. It was terrifying,” said Lindsey. “Only later did I learn that the coal fired power plants that surround our city can cause all sorts of respiratory problems. We need the EPA to protect communities like ours from life threatening pollution and make sure the plan includes set asides that ensure we have access to renewable energy and the jobs that come with it.”
The dirty energy economy disproportionately impacts low income communities and communities of color. Sixty-eight percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal fired power plant and eighty percent of Latinos live in areas that are failing to meet federal EPA air quality standards. One in six African American kids and one in nine Latino kids suffer from asthma. African American kids are four times as likely to die from asthma attacks as white children.
“Low income communities and communities of color bear the brunt of the dirty energy economy. That's why we cannot take a color-blind approach to addressing the climate crisis," said George Goehl, Executive Director of National People's Action. "The Clean Power Plan is an opportunity to make reparations to those communities whose health has been most negatively impacted by fossil fuel pollutants. The EPA must write a rule that creates real investments in our communities so we can start to reap the rewards of the transition to a clean energy economy."
Low-income communities and communities of color also are often hit first and worst by the effects of climate change and – due to chronic underinvestment – they can take the longest to recover.
“I live just three blocks from the Atlantic Ocean. We are on the frontlines and we were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Our community is still trying to recover – three years later,” said Ann Valdez, a public housing resident from Coney Island and leader with NPA affiliate Community Voices Heard. “The EPA needs to take bold steps now to protect communities like mine before it’s too late.”
To interview Sandy Lindsey, George Goehl or Ann Valdez – or for more details on the specific policy solutions NPA is advocating be included in the Federal Implementation and State Implementation Plans – please contact Jacob Swenson-Lengyel at 312.316.3973.
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National People's Action is a network of 29 grassroots organizations in 18 states working together to advance a racial and economic justice agenda for a new economy and true democracy.
National People’s Action & CREDO Action Petition to EPA
TO: GINA MCCARTHY, EPA ADMINISTRATOR
Don’t let states undermine the Clean Power Plan. Create and enforce an aggressive federal implementation plan that will reduce pollution in low-income communities and communities of color, emphasize renewable energy sources like wind, solar and geothermal, and won’t let big corporations pay to pollute.
Why is this important?
Hi, my name is Sandy Lindsey. I’ve lived in Cincinnati, Ohio my whole life, where I’m a leader with Communities United For Action (CUFA). Together with our allies at National People’s Action, we’re fighting for healthier and fairer communities. I’m also the proud mother of three beautiful children: Destiny, D'Aijha and Dyson. I’m writing to you today because of them.
My youngest daughter, D’Aijha, suffers from acute asthma. She couldn't participate in outdoor sports until she was 7 and missed weeks of school to go to the hospital. It’s still tough to let her go out and play without worrying that she’s going to have an attack. I know I’m not alone. It sometimes seems like every other kid in our neighborhood suffers from something like asthma or severe allergies.
President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, if implemented the right way, can continue the progress we are starting to make. By limiting carbon emissions for the first time, the Clean Power Plan will continue slowing climate change pollution, reduce the air pollution that causes asthma, and can bring green jobs to the communities that need them most.
In some states, like Ohio, state governments are putting corporate profits before people and the planet. They're refusing to create strong state Clean Power Plans and refusing to protect communities like mine from air pollution. We deserve better. We deserve a clean energy future that puts people and planet first.
I’ve always blamed our bad health on the environment. You see, in 2012 Cincinnati had the 8th worst air quality in the country. It’s not hard to see why.
Cincinnati is surrounded by dirty, coal fired power plants that pump pollution into our air. That pollution ends up concentrated in neighborhoods like mine, where people are mostly black and mostly low-income. People here can’t always afford air filters or the health care we need to cope.
At the same time that these coal-burning power plants steal years from our lives and sicken our kids, they spew out greenhouse gases, which cause climate change. Climate change, like air pollution, hits communities of color and low-income people first and worst.
We all deserve clean air, a stable climate and an economy that creates good jobs, not pollution.
That’s why we need the EPA to create a strong federal implementation plan for states that refuse to create powerful Clean Power Plans. The federal implementation plan will also serve as a gold standard for other states to look to as they build their own plans. Sign my petition and tell the EPA to make sure that all kids are protected from pollution and climate change, no matter where they live.
 State of the Air 2015. American Lung Association.