EJ Forum Campaign for Stronger National Air Ambient Quality Standard (NAAQs)
The science is very clear that a more stringent standard is necessary to protect the health of Americans who are susceptible to respiratory issues due to pollutants in the air. Members of the EJ Forum and our Ally groups lobbied the EPA for a stronger NAAQS of 60ppm. We are displeased with final decision of the EPA to only lower the NAAQ standard to 70ppm.
Clean Power, Clean Air, Cleaner Communities Campaign
Since the release of the Clean Power Plan last year, The EJ Forum has focused on implementing a two-tiered advocacy strategy as a part of the Clean Power, Clean Air, Cleaner Communities campaign to address environmental justice (EJ) concerns at the federal, state and local level. The 2 main objectives of this campaign are (1) to raise the visibility of the EJ perspective on the Clean Power Rule within four key target audiences — Green Groups, EPA officials, state-level decision-makers and journalists that cover environmental issues nationally, and (2) to increase the capacity of EJ groups in key target states, and other interested EJ coalition members to engage in the state-level SIP development, advocacy and accountability process. Through a collaborative process with members of the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change (EJ Forum) – primarily members from CA,LA, MN, NJ, SC – we have been building our work around a set of general recommendations to encourage the Federal EPA, as well as the State environmental agencies to make EJ and equity an integral part of the SIP process.
State Environmental Justice Advocates (SEJA)
The EJ Forum has selected six (6) organizations to work on state based advocacy around the CPP. This group is referred to as State Environmental Justice Advocates (SEJA). Starting April 1, 2015, each SEJA organization – over the next year – will be creating a state-based EJ platform that will build on the general EJ recommendations. The desired outcomes of our state-based advocacy is to create a plan to support local/state efforts to empower EJ advocates to engage in the SIP process that will result in a final SIP that incorporates EJ, equity and the identified concerns of that community. Current SEJA states and/or target states that we will be working in include: CT, IL, KY, LA, MS, NJ, NY, SC, and VA.
Brief summary of Clean Power Plan related activities (partial list)
Federal process participation
- Testified at the Clean Power Plan public hearings in Washington DC (July 29 -30, 2014), along with key allies testifying at the Pittsburgh (July 31 – August 1, 2014).
- Submitted final comments and was successful in advocating for the following organizations to include environmental justice concerns in other organizational comments: Sierra Club, NRDC, ECOS, American Public Health Association, National Community Action Foundation, and many more.
- Developed a white-paper entitled, Equity and The Carbon Standard: How the Clean Power Plan can better protect Environmental Justice Communities – submitted to the Federal Registrar Docket.
- Hosted the first EJ focused webinar entitled, “What’s at Stake: Environmental Justice and the EPAs Clean Power Plan,” on July 21, 2014. Over 250 guests listened to the perspectives of 8 experts on elements of the Clean Power Rule and its potential impact on low income, communities of color.
- Created a micro website that houses information and resources for community advocates and others to better understand the rule, the SIP process, sample testimony and comments: (www.weact.org/ejcleanair)
- New EJ Tool Kit
Federal Agency Outreach
- EJ Forum Members met with the White House Office of Management and Budget on June 30, 2015
- EJ Forum Members met with EPA Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe on May 18, 2015
- Provided testimony to various governmental bodies: including the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council annual meeting in Washington DC; and the State Department UN Consultation at University of California Berkeley, http://www.law.berkeley.edu/17648.htm.
- Convened meetings between EJ allies and EPAs Office of Environmental Justice and Office of Air and Radiation staff to better understand their methodology for conducting the EJ analysis of the Clean Power Rule, pursuant to requirements under the Environmental Justice Executive Order 12898 (EJEO12898). As a result of this meeting and request, EPA hosted two (2) trainings on the CPP specifically for EJ communities – 1 in EPA Region 2, and the other in Washington DC (a day-long community- based training for EJ communities across the country, sponsored by the EPA, to educate and mobilize EJ communities to comment on the Clean Power Plan.
- Letter of Support from NEJAC
- Signed on to a letter to oppose the Affordable Reliable Electricity Now Act of 2015 (S. 1324)
- Co-hosted a Congressional Briefing on the CPP, supported by Congressman Raul M. Grijalva and Congressman Keith Ellison, co-chairs, Congressional Progressive Caucus on September 9th.
- Have held meetings with the majority of the minority and environmental caucuses.
- Participated in a Tri-Caucus Briefing on the Clean Air Act, December 2, 2014
- Created a directory that identifies critical, non/governmental contacts in the environmental, energy and policy sectors that form the key decision makers in the SIPs.
- Presented CPP concerns in various forums across the country including but not limited to: Governor’s Institute on Community Design, State Resilience Conference; Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Legal Boot Camp, DC Bar Association, Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, Environmental Grantmaker’s Annual Legislative Meeting, University of Maryland Health Disparities Conference, Black Church Center for Justice Convening, National Environmental Health Partnership Council.
- Assembled group of faith leaders of color who are meeting weekly to engage in the comment period and beyond. Partners include GreenFaith (Northeast), Sojourners (DC), Jesus Peoples Against Pollution (Mississippi), and Kingdom Living Temple (South Carolina).
- Starting to engage Historically Black Colleges and Universities as a part of Climate Change Coalition around the CPP advocacy for 19 universities, with members of the EJ Forum.
- Received letters supporting the CPP from Elders for Climate Action and representatives Historically Black Colleges and Universities’
- Participating member of the US CAN Steering Committee for the 2015 Annual meeting
Clean Power Plan Legacy Site. This link will allow you to review our Legacy Site which outlines our initial goals and efforts around the Clean Power Plan.