FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2018
Contact: Michelle Romero, Green For All, firstname.lastname@example.org, 408-550-3121
Congressman Cleaver, Green For All, and Local Leaders Speak Out Against the U.S. EPA’s Proposed Repeal of the Clean Power Plan
Pictured above: Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05) gives opening remarks.
KANSAS CITY, MO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was in Kansas City yesterday holding a public hearing on its proposal to repeal a program known as the Clean Power Plan. Local leaders joined Green For All and Congressman Cleaver for a community conversation in advance of the hearing, to discuss the Clean Power Plan’s implications for community health, jobs, and the local environment.
“Many of the harmful emissions torching the planet are also making our communities sick. We’re seeing high rates of asthma, cancer, and pollution-related disease in our communities,” said Michelle Romero, deputy director of Green For All, a national climate justice initiative founded by Van Jones. “People of color are hit first and worst because of their proximity to the dirtiest sources. Investing in clean energy can reverse this trend and improve public health.”
The Clean Power Plan, enacted by the Obama administration, is aimed at combating climate change by reducing pollution from power plants. Power plants account for 40 percent of the United States’ climate pollution.
U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver II (MO-05) said, “We know that clean energy works. Under the Obama Administration, Recovery Act stimulus funding helped to deploy clean energy and build green infrastructure right here in Kansas City, Missouri. We even put solar on the roof of a local high school. We need more of that now and we need the Clean Power Plan.”
Sixty-eight percent of African Americans in the U.S. live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant, and 80 percent of Latinos live in areas that do not meet basic air quality standards set by the U.S. EPA. Kansas City and St. Louis have the highest rates of asthma in the state of Missouri. Local residents hoped that programs like the Clean Power Plan would accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy to improve conditions in heavily impacted communities.
Margaret J. May, former executive director of the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council said, "Our ability to live healthy and well is largely dependent on the quality of air we breathe. Clean energy principles must be followed by industry and individuals to ensure a future for our children."
Clyde McQueen, President and CEO of Full Employment Council added, “Clean energy is not a matter of how, but when. Fossil fuels are finite by their very existence and we need to plan for their eventual depletion, and eventual transition to a green economy. For once we can proactively plan for the employment and business opportunities that will be created and ensure that the unemployed and undercapitalized in rural and urban areas are not the last to be included in economic opportunities of the eventual green economy."
Over the past year, clean energy jobs in solar and wind have outpaced job growth in the rest of the U.S. economy, growing 12 times faster. From 2015-2016, the clean energy sector in Missouri added 2,772 jobs, growing three times faster that the state economy as a whole. Climate change would increase the costs of business in Missouri by threatening economic activity and services while pushing insurance premiums higher, putting 110,838 small businesses at risk.
“Clean energy and mitigating climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has been a high priority in Kansas City over the past decade, and all of our efforts in these areas include promoting social equity and creating new local jobs,” said Dennis Murphey, chief environmental officer for Kansas City, Missouri.
The focus on building more sustainable energy infrastructure in Kansas City is paying off, but local leaders agree more is needed.
Ashok Gupta, senior energy economist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said, “The Clean Power Plan would no doubt boost an already thriving local clean energy economy that is driven both by the dropping price of wind and solar energy, efficiency improvements to homes and businesses, and electric vehicles.”
“In the Westside neighborhood, we’re teaching residents about energy efficiency and putting solar on affordable housing,” said Gloria Ortiz-Fisher, executive director of the Westside Housing Organization. “We’re making housing more affordable for low-income residents by reducing the cost of their energy bills. Programs like the Clean Power Plan and the Clean Energy Incentive Program would enable us to continue this work.”
The Clean Power Plan would result in a 37 percent reduction in harmful carbon emissions from power plants in the state of Missouri by the year 2030, and a 44 percent reduction in the state of Kansas. Following the community conversation, residents travelled to the U.S. EPA hearing to join people from across the region in asking the current administration to keep the Clean Power Plan.
Green For All is a national initiative to build an inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty. Green For All is an initiative of the Dream Corps, a social justice accelerator founded by Van Jones.