For Release: April 2002
Contact: David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106 or Project21@nationalcenter.org
Environmental regulations are harming minorities and low-income Americans while providing little real environmental protection. Members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 suggest that Earth Day 2002, observed on April 22, be used as a time to reassess our nation's environmental goals so that no citizen is unjustly burdened by the cost of government rules.
As currently written and enforced, environmental regulations unjustly burden minority and low-income Americans. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates an average household pays $3,000 per year to comply with environmental laws. Since black families earn less than white families on average, black families spend approximately 12 percent of their incomes on costs related to environmental regulations while white families only pay seven percent. An analysis of proposed international global warming regulations found that, if enacted, the restrictions imposed on American businesses would cause black household income to fall by $2,220 and eliminate 864,000 jobs held by black Americans (the threat of global warming is still unconfirmed).
In addition, regulatory solutions to perceived environmental problems cause their own problems. Clean Air Act standards are supposed to address increasing cases of asthma among African-Americans. Buses, predominantly used in areas with high concentrations of minorities, are using alternative fuels containing chemicals that promote asthma. Focusing on vehicle emissions also overlooks the unaddressed issue of decomposing insects in substandard public housing being a major contributor to respiratory ailments.
Establishment environmental organizations are doing little
to address minority concerns despite paying lip service to "environmental
justice." In its congressional ratings, the League of Conservation
Voters (LCV) ranked legislators on abortion and campaign finance
regulation votes but not on their support for "The Brownfields
Revitalization Act" - which eased regulations and funded
the clean-up of polluted inner-city properties. Project 21 member
Mike Green, commenting on the LCV ratings in a recent New Visions
Commentary from Project 21, said: "Promoting the liberal
agenda, in the case of the LCV, is seemingly more important than
cleaning up pollution or saving fish populations - or simply telling
Project 21 has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 507-6398 x106 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.