Courtesy of Denise Abdul-Rahman,
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The NAACP has released the following statement applauding President Obama for his historic proposal to curb US carbon pollution as a key component of his comprehensive climate change plan. Power plants are the country’s single biggest source of carbon pollution—responsible for up to 40 percent of the country’s emissions. The proposed regulations could cut carbon pollution by as much as 25 percent from about 1,600 power plants in operation today. This rule would have significant implications for communities of color. Three out of every four African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal-fired power plant. These communities are disproportionately represented among those with respiratory illnesses, such as lung cancer and pulmonary disease. In fact, African American children are three times more likely to be admitted to the hospital for an asthma attack and twice as likely to die of asthma.
From Lorraine Miller, NAACP interim president and CEO:
“African Americans overwhelming live in areas where millions of tons of carbon pollution are trapping, concentrating, and intensifying the myriad of toxins they breathe every day. And as we have witnessed with natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Sandy, which are part of a pattern of shifting climate conditions driven by power plant emissions of carbon dioxide, our black and brown communities are being hit first and the worst. I commend President Obama for taking such a bold step for environmental justice in protecting our most vulnerable communities.”
From Katherine Egland, NAACP National Board member and Environmental and Climate Justice Committee chair:
“After surviving the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, it is reassuring that our government plans to curb climate disasters by implementing national limits on carbon dioxide. As a resident in a coastal hurricane prone zone and within close proximity to a polluting coalfired plant, I am a stakeholder in seeing reform to our loose carbon pollution regulations. It is encouraging as a citizen to know that my government has boldly moved forth in proposing rules mandating corporate responsibility by reducing carbon dioxide emissions into our cherished atmosphere.”
From Jacqueline Patterson, director, Environmental and Climate Justice:
“Pollution from coal-fired power plants and its impacts, like disasters and rising sea levels, are driving climate change and disproportionately affecting our most vulnerable communities. Even our agricultural outputs are shifting, worsening the food desert conditions in the very black, brown and low-income neighborhoods that already lack equitable access to nutritious foods. I applaud President Obama for proposing strong carbon pollution standards and for advancing efforts to protect the environment on which we all depend for our very existence.”
Denise Abdul-Rahman, BS, MBA, HCM, HIS, is chair of the Indiana NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice committee and member of the Indiana State NAACP executive board.