African American Communities Hit Hardest by Asthma, Air Toxics
Members of Congress must preserve air quality standards
Washington, D.C. – The NAACP and Green For All are joining forces to demand strong protections against pollution from coal plants. Together, they’re calling on lawmakers to stand up for the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which are under attack from the coal industry and Members of Congress.
Both organizations have been leading advocates for strong MATS, which are critical for reducing the amount of toxins that are released into the environment by power plants to improve our air quality and public health. The groups have launched a Tumblr and toolkit to help communities spread the word and organize to support the standards.
The standards, issued by EPA late last year, would reduce coal plant pollution blamed with causing asthma, heart disease, cancer and birth defects. Communities of color are hit hardest by pollution from coal plants. A staggering 68 percent of African Americans live within 30 miles of a polluting coal plant. And one in six African American youth has asthma, compared with one in ten nationwide.
“All children deserve the opportunity to breathe clean air and drink clean water,” stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. “Coal plant pollution poisons our communities and our children’s health and well-being. We are calling on Congress to support these common-sense standards that will protect children of color and the nation as a whole.”
In addition to saving an estimated 11,000 lives a year, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards would save the nation an estimated $380 billion in health care costs. The standards would also create an estimated 46,000 jobs upgrading outdated plants to reduce pollution.
“Keeping coal pollution out of our neighborhoods will do more than save lives. It will create jobs we desperately need. These EPA protections mean fewer asthma inhalers. These protections mean that each morning, more of our neighbors and friends will be able to get up and go to work at jobs they can be proud of,” said Green For All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins. “Our leaders have a choice to make. They can stand on the side of big polluters, or they can stand on the side of American families. It’s that simple.”
Additionally, Green For All has released the story of a seven year old from Kansas City who lives near a coal plant and has faced several illnesses that can be linked directly to the high level of air pollution invading her community. To view the video, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mBb3ZSi-cIs
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.
About Green For All
Green For All is a national organization dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans through a clean energy economy. The organization works in collaboration with the business, government, labor, and grassroots communities to create and implement programs that increase quality jobs and opportunities in green industry – all while holding the most vulnerable people at the center of its agenda. For more information, please visit www.gfa.fchq.ca.