January 17, 2017
As the African American leaders of environmental justice organizations, we urge the Senators serving on the Environment and Public Works Committee to oppose the confirmation of Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. We are outraged that Mr. Pruitt promises to set back and dismantle the policies and programs we have worked for more than 30 years to develop with community organizations across the nation. These policies were developed pursuant to both federal civil rights laws and environmental laws in order to remove racial disparities in environmental protection.
As you know, the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee has scheduled a hearing on January 18, 2017 to examine the nomination of Mr. Pruitt to the office of the EPA Administrator by President-Elect Donald Trump. There is nothing in Mr. Pruitt’s record as the current Oklahoma State Attorney General to demonstrate that he would be dedicated to the mission of the EPA, which is to protect human health and the environment. Nor does his career indicate any action to improve environmental conditions in people of color communities, who are disproportionately burdened with pollution.
Mr. Pruitt seeks to rise to the position of EPA Administrator as a reward for his efforts to block the EPA from mitigating the harmful effects of pollution “outside the fence-line” of toxic industries. Let’s be clear: the people who live beyond the fence of polluting industrial facilities and suffer the acute, chronic, cumulative and synergistic effects of exposure to pollution are predominantly African American and other people of color.
On Friday, January 6, 2017, an electric utility economist with a background in engineering, a geology professor who specializes in the local and regional impacts of land subsidence, and experts in environmental health and sociology filed testimonies in opposition to Entergy‘s plan for a new gas power plant. Entergy has applied to the New Orleans City Council for approval to build the proposed New Orleans Power Station (“NOPS”), a combustion turbine gas power plant, near residential neighborhoods in New Orleans East. The experts’ testimonies were filed on behalf of the Alliance for Affordable Energy, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and the Sierra Club, groups that are intervenors in the Entergy gas power plant case before the City Council.