What One Congressman Thinks of Environmental Justice
What One Congressman Thinks of Environmental Justice.
Oil refineries, power plants and extraction sites spew toxic gases and metals into the air and drinking water.
New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne Jr. penned a column for BlackPressUSA.com on Earth Day (April 22) where he called for environmental justice to become a national priority.
Payne writes: Newark residents face the nation’s second greatest cancer risk due to diesel emissions.
According to the Village Voice, “One in four Newark children suffers from asthma; the hospitalization rate is 150 percent greater for kids living in the city than in the rest of the state, and more than thirty times the rate nationwide.” Environmental injustice, of course, is not unique to Newark.
In the United States, 13 million people, including 3.5 million children, are concentrated in the vicinity of transportation facilities and are exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution from busy diesel trucking routes, ocean-going vessels, cargo handling equipment, railroad locomotives, and cargo handling equipment.
Across the nation, communities of color suffer from higher rates of exposure to air pollution, higher rates of lead poisoning, and higher rates of water pollution.
This is made even worse by their lack of equal and meaningful access to the environmental decision-making process.
The congressman acknowledges that these circumstances can’t change unless there is public outcry, especially now that the Trump administration is rolling back environmental policy and protection.
“The positions and policies of the Trump Administration are a direct threat to the health of African-American communities,” Payne writes.