May 23, 2013
(Washington, DC) Michele Roberts and Richard Moore, spokespersons for the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, provide these comments on the “Chemical Safety Improvement Act” introduced yesterday by Senators Frank Lautenberg and David Vitter.
"Communities living on the fenceline of polluting industries, chemical storage facilities, and other immediately dangerous industrial operations have worked together for more than seven years on a federal bill that would protect people from the acute and chronic dangers of industrial toxic chemicals.
Their organizing and commitment has delivered this moment when Congress might actually take up meaningful action.
Yet our understanding is that the sections of the former Safe Chemicals Act requiring protections for “hot spots” – communities most impacted by chemicals – and expedited action to restrict known persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals are not included in the compromise bill. We are deeply disappointed that those most harmed by failed chemical regulations and those who have worked tirelessly to support industrial chemical protections for all people will themselves be left inadequately protected under the Chemical Safety Improvement Act.
Our commitment remains to restrict chemicals we already know are persistent, toxic and bioaccumulative and therefore a threat to people. We want to make sure this legislation will achieve equal protection from toxics for all people, and eliminate these "hot spots" or as we refer to them, sacrifice zones where people of color and low income people, the sick, and the most vulnerable are forced to bear more polluting and threatening industrial emissions sources in places where we live, work, play, worship, and go to school.
A just policy that includes “hot spots” to protect those most vulnerable will ensure these constituents-- in states as diverse as New Jersey, Louisiana, New York, Michigan, Kentucky, California, Texas, Delaware, South Dakota, New Mexico, Alaska, and Minnesota, are not left behind. The ongoing release of persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals is also of great concern to Arctic Indigenous peoples who have some of the highest chemical body burdens of any population on earth.
The Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform is actively tracking the progress of the bill and meeting with our representatives both on the ground and in political office as the particulars of the bill become clear and our analysis unfolds."
Available for Interviews (for media assistance, Stephenie Hendricks 415 258-9151, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Michele Roberts, Environmental Justice and Health Alliance email@example.com 202 704.7593
Richard Moore, Environmental Justice and Health Alliance - Los Jardines Institute (The Gardens Institute), Albuquerque, New Mexico firstname.lastname@example.org 505 301.0276
Cecil Corbin-Mark, WEACT for Environmental Justice, Harlem, Cecil@weact.org 917 501.4980
Juan Parras, Texas Environmental Advocacy Services (TEJAS) email@example.com 281- 513-7799
Jose Bravo, Just Transition Alliance firstname.lastname@example.org 619 838.6694
Pamela K. Miller Alaska Community Action on Toxics (ACAT) email@example.com 907 222.7714
Vi Waghiyi, Alaska Community Action on Toxics 907.222.7714 or 907.444.9194