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EPA's "environmental justice" tour comes to California

Lisa jacksonjpeg Environmental justice, a movement to focus attention on pollution in low-income communities, is a burning cause for Lisa Jackson, the first African American to head the U.S. Environmental Protection agency.  Over the last several months, Jackson has toured poor white, black and Latino communities with a message: Eco-issues aren't just for rich folks.

On Saturday, the EPA chief took a bus tour of low-income neighborhoods in the San Francisco Bay area, stopping at a Superfund site where the federal government is coordinating toxic chemical cleanup, and an urban food cooperative.

At a town hall meeting in Oakland, attended by scores of community leaders, elected officials and students, she announced $100,000 in grants for programs to educate low-income communities in Richmond and Oakland about climate change, to restore wildlife habitat in Richmond and to engage Latinos in San Rafael's Canal district on environmental issues.

“Too often it's the poor and minority communities who have little voice in environmental decisions, but live in the shadow of the worst pollution,” Jackson said. "I'm happy to see so much being done here in California."

Oakland was the fourth stop in Jackson's nationwide tour. She has also visited South Carolina, Missouri, Mississippi and Georgia. Besides Bay area officials, Jackson was accompanied by representatives from  Los Angeles, Compton, Long Beach, and Carson.

The West Oakland Superfund site was a former AMCO chemical distribution facility where the EPA is monitoring the air for toxic pollution. AMCO was added to the Superfund National Priorities list in 2003 after its volatile organic compounds, metals and organochlorine pesticides contaminated the groundwater and soil. EPA is moving forward with site remediation, according to spokeswoman Mary Simms.

The residential neighborhood next to the AMCO site is the target of an EPA investigation that revealed high concentrations of lead in soils. Jackson and other tour members were briefed on lead cleanup efforts at an EPA-hosted community meeting in nearby Prescott Park.

The food cooperative where the group stopped is known as Mandela Marketplace, which promotes locally grown food to combat what are known as inner-city "food deserts" -- neighborhoods where fast food predominates and fresh fruit and vegetables are in short supply.

The four grass-roots Bay Area groups awarded $25,000 grants include:

  • The Rose Foundation in West Oakland, whose ‘New Voices Are Rising’ Program is a civic engagement project that works with students from low-income, black and Latino communities in Oakland and Richmond, California.
  • The Watershed Project, a nonprofit organization which has organized the Richmond Greenway Bioswale and Native Plant Garden (Greenway Garden) project  to transform a section of abandoned railroad into a recreation area. 
  • Urban Habitat, also in Richmond, whose plan is to develop a community Energy  and Climate Action Plan that will look at the impact of climate change on the city's low-income communities.  
  • The Viviendo Verde Ya! Project in Marin, which will work with Promotores Verdes (a grassroots organization) to mentor a network of environmental and health volunteers in San Rafael's Canal district.

-- Margot Roosevelt


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Photo: EPA administrator Lisa Jackson. Credit: Mel Evans/AP


Comments () | Archives (16)

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Oh yeah. Rome was a Republic ruled by Republicans who got fat and lazy becoming vulnerable to their enemies. Bush was like Nero playing his fiddle while the Republic burned. HA!

Ozone causes respiratory illness and death. Ethanol use creates ozone. So why is it that environmentalists are increasing the ethanol content in fuel?

Why do environmentalist hate poor people?

The Washington State Dept of Ecology said in 2008 that any more than 2% ethanol in the fuel, and Seattle exceeds EPA Ozone Attainment Levels. LA has the same problem with mountains containing emissions.

Additionally, it is well established that ethanol in fuel damages or destroys many of America's 300 million open cycle engines (according to Outdoor Power Equipment Institute), motorcycle engines (AMA), and half the cars tested by the US automakers (NYT article). A damaged engine will spew many times the pollution of a well run engine. The automakers said ethanol burns hotter and can damage or destroy catalytic converters, which are designed to reduce pollution.

I challenge reporters to look at the facts. Ethanol, and several other 'environmental solutions' are killing us and our economy.

John..didnt you forget to blame the Republicans for the sack of Rome and the Dark Ages??

man, the flat-earthers troll this paper like crazy (and i do mean that literally). hope lisa j. has good security so these nutjobs on this site don't try to burn her at the stake for her witchcraft (aka "science").

i just hope none of them live here, none of them vote (for chrissakes) and they are all firing up their coal-burning 1981 mainframes in their mom's basements in kansas...

If the EPA was so worried about pollution, why dont they stop the constant bombardment of chemtrails being released everyday all over the country. These chemtrails (not contrails) are full of pharmicutical and military chemical waste. This is real, just look up and you'll see them.

To everyone who dislikes the EPA and thinks we should roll everything back to 1966 standards: I hope you like the smog, increased rates of asthma, lead in gasoline, rivers that catch on fire, shortened life spans, higher rates of cancer, etc. that go along with that. Doesn't anyone remember what LA used to look like before emissions regulations? It puzzles me that people equate a healthy environment with socialism. Maybe conservatives like living in toxic conditions.

President Obama and the EPA are very busy fixing the United States after the GOP broke it.

#1. George W stole the 2000 election with an assist from a Republican Supreme Court.
#2. Bush / Cheney let our guard down on 9/11.
#3. Bush / Cheney mismanaged our military response to the terrorist attacks.
#4. Bush / Cheny let Bin Laden get away.
#5. Bush / Cheney and the GOP nearly killed New Orleans with an inept disaster reponse.
#6. Bush / Cheney and GOP sweetheart deals with Big Oil led to the Gulf Oil spill.
#7. And finally as a parting gift, Bush / Cheney and the GOP drove our economy into a ditch.

Republican leadership was a national disaster and there just isn't sufficient space here to enumerate the rest of it.

And the Obama supporters continue to deny that he is a socialist.

Maybe she can rid my town of banks

This is the person who thinks that man-made concrete flood control channels are traditional navigable waters.

This is the person who wants to ax the fizz in Pepsi and considers "the fizz," a polluntant.

She's about as qualified for his postion as the her Boss.

SPEND, SPEND, SPEND, but the heck with American productivity and employment.

2 November is coming!!!!

The EPA is the problem, not the solution. We,the People, need to force our elected officials to curtail the EPA back to 1966 mandates. Liberalism gone amuck, massive regulations, the false god of global warming... All these things are bringing the USA to its demise. As for Lisa jackson. Does she actually know anything?

The EPA is aout of control rogue agency. They have caused more job loss than the present administration. California can blaim much of its problems on the EPA. Nuff Said.

Come Nov 2 economic opportunity will eclipse this goofy woman and her movement. Without jobs and hope, what good is a so-called 'clean' environment.

the crooks are coming to california god help us

Yay for the Rose Foundation. Go get em Tim and Jill.
John L.

The Obama administration has Lisa Jackson, the former head of New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection, as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Jackson led New Jersey's efforts to regulate auto greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama’s environmental appointees have a great deal in common. They embrace the socialist concepts of environemntal and economic justice. These fuzzy initiatives would have central government find it a "civil right" for the disadvantaged to be provided up-scale housing.

They also share an indifference to the necessary national effort to expand nuclear power plants beyond the 104 plants that presently provide about 18 percent of U.S. electric power. Nuclear power plants emit no greenhouse gases -- zero carbon footprint. Yet, Obama’s green cabinet is against expansion of carbon-neutral nuclear facilities.

Further, they would emplement costly "cap-and-trade" climate laws. With the U.S. and other world economies in recession, initiatives to impose cap-and-trade regulations (carbon taxes) on industries and power generators could not come at a worse time. The U.S. already spends about 5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) on environmental controls. Using broad United Nations (UN) estimates of the cost for Kyoto Protocol-like controls, U.S. costs for environmental controls could ultimately increase by 40 percent with carbon cap-and-trade or carbon taxation.

Green-obsessed bureaucrats and militant eco-groups have become an "axis of antagonism" that we can no longer afford.


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