New report suggests Blacks more exposed to climate change

Hazel Trice Edney news wire | 4/20/2018, midnight

More than a million African-Americans live within a half mile of existing natural gas facilities and that number continues to grow.

Because of this, many predominately Black communities “face an elevated risk of cancer due to air toxic emissions from natural gas development,” according to a recent report by the NAACP and the Clean Air Task Force (CATF). “Over 1 million African Americans live in counties that face a cancer risk above [the Environmental Protection Agency’s] EPA’s level of concern from toxics emitted by natural gas facilities.”

The report, titled, “Fumes Across the Fence-Line”, concludes, “The air in many African American communities violate air quality standards for ozone smog…And, as a result of ozone increases due to natural gas emissions during the summer ozone season, African American children are burdened by 138,000 asthma attacks and 101,000 lost school days each year.”

It also quotes a 2016 CATF study that “found that ozone smog from natural gas industry pollution is associated with 750,000 summertime asthma attacks in children and 500,000 missed school days. Among adults, this pollution results in 2,000 asthma related emergency room visits and 600 hospital admissions and 1.5 million reduced activity days.”

These health hazards and other environmental atrocities in Black communities around the nation are just some of the reasons that U. S. Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) declares that there is a “sense of urgency” as America nears November’s mid-term elections. That urgency, he says, warrants a Democratic takeover of the Republican majority House of Representatives. And, he says, it requires a repudiation of regressive environmental policies by President Donald Trump.

“There’s just no beating around the bush. Our sense of urgency started the day President Trump was sworn in and as he began his assault on the EPA and our environment in general,” McEachin said in an interview with the Trice Edney News Wire. “Whether it was withdrawing from the Paris Accord to the reversal of regulations that affect our water, affect our air, to the attacks on the Clean Power Plan, that’s when our sense of urgency began.”

McEachin is a co-founder of the House Environmental Justice Caucus, which was formed to protect the environment and to call attention to actions and policies that could damage the environment and impact disparately on people of color. For example, President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt have proposed cutting the EPA’s budget by 31 percent and cutting the EPA’s environmental justice office. In addition to supporting the cuts, Pruitt has worked to dismantle protections like the Clean Power Plan and the clean car standards, which have significant financial and health benefits for African-American communities.

Meanwhile, Black children are at serious risk simply because of where they live. They are 4.5 times more likely to be hospitalized for asthma, and 10 times more likely to die from asthma than White children. Eighty-three percent of African-Americans support the Clean Power Plan that Trump proposes to abolish. More than 10,000 Black clergy members from around the country signed a statement supporting the Clean Power Plan, calling climate change a “moral issue.”