Energy Future New Orleans Coalition Calls on New Orleans City Council to Use FERC Settlement Funds for Utility Debt Relief

Energy Future New Orleans Coalition Calls on New Orleans City Council to Use FERC Settlement Funds for Utility Debt Relief

July 10, 2024 – The Energy Future New Orleans Coalition (EFNO) has sent a letter to the New Orleans City Council calling upon the Council to address the utility debt crisis that has left New Orleanians powerless. Through the discovery process under docket UD-23-02, we have learned that Entergy New Orleans’ (ENO) residential disconnection rate for 2023 was 19%, meaning nearly one out of every five residents was disconnected last year for inability to pay ENO’s unaffordable bills.

The letter urges the Council to allocate funds from the recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) settlement to establish a standing arrearage management program for ENO ratepayers. The terms of the FERC settlement (as established by R-24-194) included a $98M lump sum payment by System Energy Resources, Inc. to ENO. ​

Of that $98M, $32M were designated to be held by ENO as a credit for customers, to be distributed at the direction of the Council in the amount of up to $10M per year.

EFNO has previously urged the Council, under docket UD-23-02, to implement an arrearage management program that pairs incremental debt forgiveness with energy efficiency improvements in ratepayers’ homes. This approach will not only help residents escape utility debt but also ensures they remain debt-free in the future.

We, the members of EFNO, once again call upon the Council to relieve the significant burden of utility debt by devoting this FERC settlement money to the establishment of this crucial arrearage management program. Given the extreme heat that we have experienced already this summer, and the likelihood of an active tropical storm season, it is imperative that the Council act now to protect vulnerable ratepayers from being disconnected from a vital service.

Members of EFNO will be at the regular Council meeting on Thursday, July 11 to urge the Council to act on this proposal and will be available to speak to members of the press.

READ THE LETTER

About Energy Future New Orleans: EFNO is a coalition of diverse people and organizations dedicated to making New Orleans an equitable and renewable energy city for present and future generations. The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is a member of the EFNO Coalition

About the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice: Families in the Gulf Coast deserve to live in communities that are free from deadly air and are more resilient to climate change and extreme weather. The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) works to empower and engage communities to put environmental justice and equity at the center of all climate action. Led by environmental justice scholar and advocate, author, civic leader and professor of Sociology Dr. Beverly L. Wright, the DSCEJ uses research, education, and community and student engagement to advocate for policy change, lead health and safety training for environmental careers, develop social and emotional community wellness programs, and create new and environmentally healthy opportunities for the residents of communities disproportionately impacted by historic environmental injustice.

DSCEJ Statement on Federal Approval of LNG Project in Southwest Louisiana

DSCEJ Statement on Federal Approval of LNG Project in Southwest Louisiana

Following today’s announcement on the federal approval of Venture Global’s LNG project in Cameron Parish, Dr. Beverly Wright, Founder and Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ), released the following statement:

Most people in Louisiana have never heard of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in Washington, DC, but its decisions significantly impact our everyday lives. The recent approval of Venture Global’s enormous liquefied natural gas facility in Cameron Parish follows a series of unjust decisions by FERC that have unleashed serious problems for Gulf Coast communities.

Residents are dealing with the disruptions brought on by constructing these facilities, which include draining the local water supply to the point that the water level is inadequate to put out a fire. LNG is ripping apart the livelihoods of fishing families. Air pollution has increased with LNG operations, which also contribute to the climate crisis that whips up super storms in our region. Through all of this, FERC has neglected the important work of establishing standards for decision-making that ensures environmental and climate justice.

We’re left with a FERC decision that will make our communities more polluted and our planet hotter.

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About the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice

Families in the Gulf Coast deserve to live in communities that are free from deadly air and are more resilient to climate change and extreme weather. The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) works to empower and engage communities to put environmental justice and equity at the center of all climate action. Led by environmental justice scholar and advocate, author, civic leader and professor of Sociology Dr. Beverly L. Wright, the DSCEJ uses research, education, and community and student engagement to advocate for policy change, lead health and safety training for environmental careers, develop social and emotional community wellness programs, and create new and environmentally healthy opportunities for the residents of communities disproportionately impacted by historic environmental injustice.

 

New research shows air pollutant in Louisiana at levels nine times higher than reported by EPA and LDEQ

New research shows air pollutant in Louisiana at levels nine times higher than reported by EPA and LDEQ

June 11, 2024 – Today, researchers at John Hopkins University issued a report of their air monitoring in Louisiana, which detected ethylene oxide (EtO) concentrations nine times higher than pollution modeling by EPA and LDEQ. This means communities are being exposed to significantly greater amounts of EtO than assumed in regulations and permitting decisions.

The air monitoring research is funded by the Beyond Petrochemicals Campaign, which is sharing the following info.

Read the Environmental Science & Technology peer-reviewed study.
View the press release

Media Contact:
Matt Smelser
512-739-9635
matt@beyondpetrochemicals.org

 

About Beyond Petrochemicals:

Launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in September 2022, Beyond Petrochemicals: People Over Pollution aims to halt the rapid expansion of petrochemical and plastic pollution in the United States. The campaign draws on the success of the Beyond Coal campaign, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Bloomberg’s Beyond Carbon campaign, to turbocharge existing efforts led by frontline communities to block the rapid expansion of 120+ petrochemical projects concentrated in three target geographies – Louisiana, Texas, and the Ohio River Valley. The campaign also works to establish stricter rules for existing petrochemical plants to safeguard the health of American communities. To date, Beyond Petrochemicals has helped raise awareness and lead timely collaboration efforts using its four pillars of community leadership, data and research, legislation and litigation, and stakeholder engagement to accelerate its goals. For more information, please visit us at beyondpetrochemicals.org and follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and X.

The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is a partner organization with Beyond Petrochemicals.

Environmental Justice Voice Newsletter Spring 2024

Environmental Justice Voice Newsletter Spring 2024

SPRING 2024 EDITION:

2022EJ VOICE HORIZ LOGO_final

Read Our Spring Newsletter

IN THIS EDITION:

  •  Worker Training Program Graduation
  • Justice40 – Celebrating our Success
  • Community Investment Recovery Center (CIRC)
  • Earth Day 2024
  • Carbon Dioxide Waste Injection – Louisiana Deserves Better!
  • SPRING HIGHLIGHTS
  • Travelogue: Dr. Wright
  • Team DSCEJ UPDATE

READ MORE . . .

Environmental Justice Champion Dr. Beverly Wright Honored in Exhibit at the US EPA’s New National Environmental Museum and Education Center in Washington, DC

Environmental Justice Champion Dr. Beverly Wright Honored in Exhibit at the US EPA’s New National Environmental Museum and Education Center in Washington, DC

NEW ORLEANS, May 21, 2024 — Dr. Beverly Wright, the founder and executive director of the longest serving environmental justice resource center, will be honored by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s National Environmental Museum and Education Center which is hosting its grand opening today in Washington, D.C.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized in this permanent exhibit at the National Environmental Museum and Education Center,” said Dr. Wright. “This museum is an important reflection of the triumphs and challenges that I hope will educate and inspire more champions.”

Dr. Beverly Wright is a scholar, advocate, author, civic leader, professor of Sociology, and the Founder and Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ), the first-ever environmental justice center in the United States. Under the Biden administration, Dr. Wright was appointed to the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council, where she advises on how the federal government can address current and historic environmental injustices.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Dr. Wright has experienced and witnessed the polluting effects of Cancer Alley–an 85-mile stretch of land between Baton Rouge and New Orleans that is home to over 150 petrochemical plants and refineries– her entire life. She has dedicated over three decades of her life advocating for environmental justice and tirelessly addressing the disproportionate impacts of environmental issues on marginalized communities. Wright’s work has left an indelible mark on local communities, national policies and the international EJ movement.

The National Environmental Museum and Education Center, located at EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., which opened in April, held its official grand opening ceremony on May 21, 2024.

To learn more about Dr. Beverly Wright, please visit https://dscej.org/beverly-wright/

Gulf South Environmental Justice Leaders React to EPA Clean Power Plant Rules

Gulf South Environmental Justice Leaders React to EPA Clean Power Plant Rules

Dr. Beverly Wright and Dr. Robert D. Bullard released the following statements in response to EPA rule
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 26 2024

Contact:
Ginger LeBlanc
media@dscej.org

David Castillo
David.Castillo@tsu.edu

(NEW ORLEANS, LA) Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a suite of final rules to reduce pollution from fossil fuel-fired power plants with the goal of protecting all communities from pollution and improving public health without disrupting the delivery of reliable electricity.

Joint Statement from the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice

While we commend the Biden administration and the EPA for heeding the concerns voiced by our environmental justice communities and taking action, we will continue to advocate for bolder pollution reductions and a transition to renewable energy.

These new rules are narrowly targeted to address mercury and coal ash pollution. Mercury from power plants is one of the main sources of mercury contamination in food and fish, which poses a serious threat to public health, disproportionately affecting pregnant people and children.

While the focus in these areas is welcome and will usher in life-saving changes for many communities, we remain deeply concerned about the use of carbon capture storage (CCS) technology as part of the solution. During this process, a power plant’s CO2 is collected, carried by pipeline, and injected underground as permanent waste storage. This three-step process aims to shift the emissions of CO2 in the air where it enters the atmosphere to disposing of it below ground.

In the atmosphere, CO2 contributes to the climate crisis by trapping heat on the planet. In a pipeline, CO2 can leak and displace oxygen with disastrous consequences for nearby communities. Once underground, CO2 can contaminate groundwater used for drinking, trigger earthquakes, and escape above ground through unplugged wells.

The industrial release of CO2 is harmful wherever it goes. Current industrial plans for deploying CCS are concentrated in vulnerable and overburdened communities in the Gulf Coast Region. In response to this injustice, communities in Louisiana and Texas are rising up in defense of their health and safety and the wellbeing of future generations. Residents are leading efforts to transition away from dirty energy to efficient and renewable solar and wind energy. This transition must be just, fair and equitable to address structural inequality that has systematically left out and left behind our most vulnerable populations and communities.

Furthermore, the new rules fall short in a clear, rigorous cumulative impacts assessment component, which is critical to addressing the health and well-being of environmental justice communities. Gulf Coast environmental justice communities have been overburdened with pollution for so long, it is high time that the laws of the land protect them and work to clean up the historical pollution. The new rules also fall short of addressing methane gas-fired power plants, facilities which also plague overburdened communities.

Quote from Dr. Beverly Wright, Founder & Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice:

“Once again, under Michael Regan’s leadership, the EPA has taken an important step forward in reducing pollution in our air and attempting to create healthier communities across the country. Carbon capture storage remains one of the biggest threats to communities of color being harmed by the polluting industries that exacerbate our climate crisis. Through our ongoing dialogue with EPA on a host of issues, we voice our opposition to CCS regularly. Along with an overreliance on CCS, the new rules do not sufficiently address methane gas-fired power plants, which are overwhelmingly located in communities with Black and brown residents. We will continue to hold policymakers accountable for enforcing these new rules and relentlessly fighting against CCS. The EPA needs to reduce climate pollution, not shift it.”

Quote from Dr. Robert D. Bullard, Founder & Executive Director of the Bullard Center for Climate and Environmental Justice:

“We applaud the toxics and hazardous waste reductions at power plants proposed by the EPA. These new rules are an important step toward justice for our most disadvantaged communities. Yet, the new rules are not enough. The EPA must incorporate consequential cumulative impact assessments of pollution and other environmental stressors, and truly address the inequity that persists in our frontline communities. We are also gravely disappointed that the vehicle for greenhouse gas reductions is through carbon capture and sequestration. Carbon capture and sequestration is a ruse and has no place in our discussion of a justice-centered transition away from fossil fuels pollution.”

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About the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
Families in the Gulf Coast deserve to live in communities that are free from deadly air and are more resilient to climate change and extreme weather. The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) works to empower and engage communities to put environmental justice and equity at the center of all climate action. Led by environmental justice scholar and advocate, author, civic leader, and professor of Sociology Dr. Beverly L. Wright, the DSCEJ uses research, education, and community and student engagement to advocate for policy change, lead health and safety training for environmental careers, develop social and emotional community wellness programs, and create new and environmentally healthy opportunities for the residents of communities disproportionately impacted by historic environmental injustice.

About Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice
The Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University addresses longstanding issues of systemic inequality and structural racism that cause disproportionate pain, suffering, and death in Black and other people of color communities. The Center is directed by environmental justice scholar Dr. Robert D. Bullard and is housed in the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs. It strives to be a leading force for transformative environmental, climate, and racial justice using rigorous science, community-driven research, policy, civic engagement programming, and effective advocacy.

EPA Takes Historic Action on Environmental Justice

EPA Takes Historic Action on Environmental Justice

Federal Agency Cuts to Petrochemical Pollution Shows Change Is Possible in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley

WASHINGTON, DC (April 9, 2024) – Today, Dr. Beverly Wright, Founder and Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, joined US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan to announce groundbreaking requirements for reduced air pollution at petrochemical facilities concentrated in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley, the Texas Gulf Coast, and operating throughout the U.S.

“Today’s action by Administrator Reagan to significantly cut toxic pollution and cancer risk is an historic breakthrough that can change Cancer Alley,” said Dr. Wright. “We are thankful for his leadership and commitment to environmental justice.

”Louisiana community advocates, Robert Taylor, Executive Director of Concerned Citizens of St. John, and Sharon Lavigne, Executive Director of RISE St. James, spoke of their struggles with governmental inaction on industrial pollution, and expressed their gratitude for this historic moment.

The new EPA regulations force the Denka (formerly DuPont) neoprene facility in St. John Parish and other petrochemical plants to reduce chloroprene emissions by 80 percent. Overall, the required reductions include 6,200 tons of chloroprene, ethylene oxide and other toxic air emissions each year, which are expected to lower cancer risks in fenceline communities. The significantly lower emission requirements would also apply to Formosa if it pursues renewals of air permits next year. Communities and the public will have access to data from new fenceline air monitoring imposed by the EPA rule which establishes action levels for robust environmental enforcement.

Under the Clean Air Act, EPA established new HON regulations requiring significant reductions of chloroprene, ethylene oxide, and volatile organic compounds. HON stands for Hazardous Organic NESHAP, and NESHAP stands for National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.

Long-term exposure to ethylene oxide and chloroprene can increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as lymphoma, leukemia, breast cancer, and liver cancer. EPA expects the rule to better protect children, who are more exposed and more susceptible to the effects of these toxic chemicals.

The EPA announcement follows the EPA’s Journey to Justice in Louisiana that brought Administrator Regan to communities in St. John Parish and St. James Parish, where he promised to hold polluting industries accountable for their actions in overburdened communities.

“For decades, regulating agencies have completely abdicated their responsibility to the communities they are supposed to protect,” said Dr. Wright. “Unfortunately, that meant generations of families losing loved ones to cancer. Administrator Regan promised community members that he would take action and today is a major step in fulfilling that promise. There is no doubt that the EPA’s HON rule will save lives.”

Read Dr. Wright’s Official Statement

Read the EPA Press Release

Watch the EPA Press Conference

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Carbon Dioxide Leak in Sulphur, LA Highlights the Dangers of Carbon Capture and Storage Infrastructure

ICYMI: Yesterday’s Carbon Dioxide Leak in Sulphur, LA Highlights the Dangers of Carbon Capture and Storage Infrastructure

From Louisiana Against False Solutions

Emergency Plans Are Not in Place for Residents’ Safety

Sulphur, Louisiana — Last night, there was a leak in a high-pressure carbon dioxide (CO2) pipeline owned by Denbury Inc. and ExxonMobil, in Sulphur, Louisiana. Pipeline operator representatives arrived at the scene almost two hours after Calcasieu Parish’s Ward 6 Fire Department. This pipeline is just one of a multitude of proposed CO2 pipelines that threaten Louisiana communities as part of a rapid build-out of the dangerous carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry. Carbon dioxide displaces oxygen and can cause asphyxiation in high concentrations, yet sufficient safety and emergency preparedness plans are not in place in communities that are located near dangerous pipelines.

James Hiatt, a resident of Calcasieu Parish and Executive Director of For a Better Bayou, said, “Last night’s carbon dioxide (CO2) leak from an ExxonMobil-owned pipeline in North Sulphur reiterates grave concerns about carbon capture and storage infrastructure’s safety. Coupled with a previous serious incident in Satartia, Mississippi, which necessitated evacuations and medical treatments due to a similar pipeline failure, these events underscore the perils tied to handling and moving CO2 in large volumes.”

“This wasn’t the first incident at the North Sulphur site, highlighting a troubling pattern of safety lapses,” Hiatt continued. “Given the proposals for extensive new CO2 pipelines across South Louisiana, these repeated incidents serve as a stark warning. It’s crucial that these risks not be ignored or minimized, especially when the stakes for public safety and health are so high.”

When firefighters arrived at the scene, a high-pressure leak of carbon dioxide was discovered at the pumping station. A shelter-in-place was issued by the Calcasieu Police Jury for residents within 1/4 miles of the incident. Despite carbon dioxide’s tendency to travel at ground level, no warning was given to residents to seek higher ground in their homes. The shelter-in-place was lifted at 9:15 p.m. when the readings suggested the area was clear.

“This pipeline represents just a small fraction of the massive number of CO2 pipelines that are proposed to slice through our communities in Louisiana,” said Breon Robinson, organizer with Healthy Gulf. “If we’re already having these dangerous incidents such as last night with existing CCS infrastructure, we must pump the breaks on this industry before we subject even more people to even more danger.”

Roishetta Sibley Ozane, founder and CEO of The Vessel Project of Louisiana, said, “I never imagined that my own home in Sulphur, Louisiana, would become a dangerous place to be due to a CO2 leak, but I’m not surprised. As an environmental justice leader, I have been fighting against the constant threat of new fossil fuel buildout in our community, including the newly proposed false solutions of carbon capture. This CO2 leak was a stark reminder of the environmental injustices we face daily.”

“Sheltering in place became not only a matter of personal safety but also a symbol of our ongoing struggle,” Ozane continued. “We were not only dealing with the immediate danger of the leak but also the long-term impacts of living in an area heavily burdened by industrial pollution. It felt like we were trapped, both physically and metaphorically, as the very air we breathed posed a threat to our health.”

This morning, the Louisiana House Committee on Natural Resources and Environment was hearing a discussion on two bills on carbon capture and storage. The bills, HB 289 and HB 398, respectively, are related to whether carbon dioxide injection wells should be permitted in certain areas. One of the bills specifically included a provision on emergency response — an area that lawmakers are grappling with as dozens of carbon capture projects and pipelines are proposed across Louisiana.

Monique Harden, Director of Law and Public Policy at the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, said, “Industrial releases of carbon dioxide not only warm the planet but are also hazardous to communities. We can expect more CO2 disasters in communities with plans for more and more gas plants, CO2 pipelines, and underground injection of CO2 waste. The only effective protection is a transition away from dirty energy that ensures environmental justice.”

“Southwest Louisiana is once again the victim of two realities,” said KD Minor, Founder of Forever Calcasieu and Community Solutions Coordinator at the Alliance for Affordable Energy. “While the White House announces billions of dollars in industry investments, the people still recovering from record-breaking hurricanes are now faced with sheltering in place for toxic emissions from those same industries. It is long past time that we put our priorities in the people that make this state great, and begin our transition away from the practices that continue to decrease the quality of our lives.”

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Media Contacts:

Eloise Reid, LAFS Manager
504-249-8748
eloisereid@gmail.com

Stephannie Kettle, Healthy Gulf Communications Manager
407-361-9432
skettle@healthygulf.org

Louisiana Against False Solutions (LAFS) is a coalition of more than 20 organizations leading in Louisiana and nationally for environmental, racial, and social justice. LAFS includes expertise across a range of disciplines: law, environmental science, geology, steel and materials scientists, traditional and Indigenous knowledge-holders, experienced campaigners, fisherfolk, and frontline communities. Learn more at https://www.lagainstfalsesolutions.org

The Deep South Center for Environmental Justice is a member of the LAFS Coalition.

Environmental Justice Leaders Respond to U.S. EPA Plan To Reconsider Emissions

Environmental Justice Leaders Respond to U.S. EPA Plan To Reconsider Emissions

NATIONAL (February 29, 2024) – Today leaders within the environmental justice movement responded to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to tackle emissions from existing gas plants in a supplemental rulemaking to the “New Source Performance Standards for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Fossil Fuel–Fired Electric Generating Units (EGU); Emissions Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Existing Fossil Fuel–Fired Electric Generating Units.”

“We are pleased to learn that EPA Administrator Michael Regan and the White House are responding to our individual and collective concerns about the treatment of existing gas plants in the current iteration of its carbon rule proposal. Our organizations have repeatedly sounded an alarm about the lack of environmental justice analysis and cumulative impacts considerations in the proposal, and we see this reconsideration as an important step for allowing a more thoughtful and comprehensive plan for regulating this critical segment of the power sector.

We strongly believe that climate pollution mitigation and environmental justice for communities go hand in hand. Any rulemaking to address the existing gas sector can and must achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gasses while also improving local air quality and the public health of overburdened communities. In addition, a supplemental rulemaking for existing gas plants opens up the possibility of considering a diverse range of policy and practice options, from multiple sources within the Federal family, to improve pollution mitigation and environmental justice outcomes and to respond to the climate crisis.

Our request is that the EPA have a clear timeline and transparent process for proposing and implementing a supplemental rulemaking for existing gas plants as we are prepared to work collaboratively with the Agency on this new phase.”

Signatories:

Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director, WE ACT for Environmental Justice.

Dr. Ana Baptista, Co-Director of the Tishman Environment & Design Center at The New School and Associate Professor at The New School University.

Dr. Nicky Sheats, Ph.D, MPP, Esq., Director, Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research at Kean University.

Dr. Beverly Wright, Founder and Executive Director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice

Dr. Robert D. Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy and Director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University

Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., President and CEO, Hip Hop Caucus

Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Deputy Director, Organizing and Advocacy, Ironbound Community Corporation

Melissa Miles, Executive Director, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance

Dr. Beverly Wright, Founder and Executive Director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice stated,

“We are grateful to have EPA’s leadership to reduce power plant pollution in a way that is protective of nearby communities. Power plants are disproportionately located near Black and other communities of color, and release massive amounts of pollution that cause asthma and contribute to climate change. Allowing these existing plants to employ carbon capture and storage or hydrogen co-firing would increase health risks and set back progress on renewable energy. We look forward to participating in regulations for existing power plants that advance environmental and climate justice.”

Peggy Shepard, Co-Founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice stated,

“We are pleased to see that the voices and considerations of environmental justice communities are being factored into this monumentally impactful area of environmental rulemaking. The EPA has a responsibility to our communities and to our future – the power sector is one of the top sources of carbon emissions and pollution – we have a limited amount of time to not only create an energy transition but also to do it the right way with clean and renewable sources and communities in mind. With this pause to take a deeper dive into developing the most comprehensive and thoughtful rulemaking for existing gas plants, we have an opportunity to do this work correctly and effectively to protect the human and environmental health of the most overburdened, neglected, and vulnerable people across the country – which in turn benefits everyone. We are wholly appreciative of the EPA’s leadership in demonstrating the need for further review, and at the same time request a clear and transparent process as we look forward to collaborating for its improved realization. Only when this rule is finalized can we truly know we are on a path to resilience and justice. Our movement being recognized and included in the EPA’s process will indeed create a world in which we don’t have to dare to breathe, but instead live and breathe more easily today and tomorrow.”

Dr. Ana Baptista, Co-Director of the Tishman Environment & Design Center at The New School and Associate Professor at The New School University shared,

“US EPA’s decision to address existing natural gas plants in a supplemental rulemaking process is a critical opportunity to take up the substantive environmental justice concerns voiced by communities in the comment period. A large majority of natural gas plants contribute to the existing, disproportionate burdens already faced by environmental justice communities. This decision allows for a more comprehensive approach to tackling both climate change and the cumulative impacts that these plants pose to overburdened communities.”

Dr. Nicky Sheats, Ph.D, MPP, Esq., Director, Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research at Kean University shared,

“In addition to fighting climate change, climate change mitigation policy should be used to improve the health of communities by improving local air quality. Re-considering the portion of the power plants rule that applies to existing natural gas plants will provide EPA with more opportunity to ensure that overburdened environmental justice communities are not sacrificed as the nation fights climate change. We need to make sure the rule does, in fact, improve local air quality in these communities and does not make it worse.”

Dr. Robert D. Bullard, Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning and Environmental Policy and Director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University stated,

“We applaud EPA for taking an important step toward mitigating pollution from the fossil fuel power generation sector, and we implore the agency to go further down this path. Curtailing pollution is of the utmost urgency as communities of color and low-wealth struggle under the weight of historical and continued pollution and injustice. We call on the EPA to continue enacting anti-racist policies that result in real justice for real people. We don’t need any false solutions like hydrogen and carbon capture that will add to the pollution burden that already exists in our communities. Instead, we need only those solutions that improve environmental conditions for the most vulnerable people.”

Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., President and CEO, Hip Hop Caucus shared,

“The rule as proposed did not address the concerns of environmental justice communities. Therefore, it is encouraging to see the EPA and Biden Administration pause to reflect on environmental justice needs rather than push out regulations that do not address the climate crisis, as it is a racial justice matter. We look forward to continuing to engage on this existing gas plant rule and others to ensure community concerns are uplifted and harmful impacts are addressed.”

Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Deputy Director, Organizing and Advocacy, Ironbound Community Corporation shared,

“Environmental Justice communities can breathe a little bit easier with this delay in the release of the ‘New Source Performance Standards for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from New, Modified, and Reconstructed Fossil Fuel–Fired Electric Generating Units (EGU); Emissions Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Existing Fossil Fuel–Fired Electric Generating Units.’ We are hopeful that this delay will allow a reconsideration that fully embraces Environmental Justice in order to ensure healthy outcomes for our communities.”

Melissa Miles, Executive Director, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance stated,

“Delaying the existing natural gas plants part of the power plants rule will give EPA a better opportunity to make sure the rule helps environmental justice communities in their fight to improve local air quality. There needs to be protections in the rule to ensure that environmental justice communities already overburdened by air pollution are not further burdened by this rule.”
MEDIA CONTACTS:
Ashley Sullivan, WE ACT for Environmental Justice, ashley.sullivan@weact.org
Angelica Salazar, Tishman Environment & Design Center at The New School, salazara@newschool.edu
Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Ironbound Community Corporation, 201-978-6660
Dr. Beverly Wright, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, beverlyw@dscej.org
Joseph Pate, Hip Hop Caucus, joseph@hiphopcaucus.org
Nicky Sheats, Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research at Kean University, 609-558-4987
Dr. Robert D. Bullard, Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University, drrobertbullard@gmail.com
Melissa Miles, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, melissa@njeja.org
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DSCEJ Responds to Gov. Landry’s FOIA Request

DSCEJ Responds to Gov. Landry’s FOIA Request

Dr. Beverly Wright to Gov. Jeff Landry: “Meet with us and learn about our achievements and challenges in Louisiana.”

Jan 30, 2024

The Honorable Jeff Landry
Governor, State of Louisiana
Office of the Governor
PO Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Dear Governor Landry:

It has come to my attention that, as Louisiana State Attorney General, you filed a Freedom of Information Act request for communications between the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Please know that you should feel free to contact me for this information. As the founder and executive director of the Center, I can share with you the work we do to make Louisiana a better place for families and future generations to live, work, and thrive.

The Center provides opportunities for communities, scientific researchers, and decision-makers to collaborate on projects that promote the rights of all people to be free from environmental harm as it impacts health, jobs, housing, education, and quality of life. Our work is centered on education, research, community and student engagement, as well as health and safety training for environmental careers. We strive every day to build the capacities of community-based organizations to advance environmental justice and equitable climate solutions.

I invite you to meet with us and learn about the achievements we have made and the challenges we experience in Louisiana.

Sincerely,
Beverly Wright, PhD
Founder and Executive Director