One of the Trump Administration's first actions to dismantle our country's regulatory apparatus, Executive Order 13777, requires federal agencies to evaluate existing regulations and recommend which of these regulations should be repealed, replaced, or modified. In light of this order, EPA is holding a "public" process so that the public can comment on which EPA regulations should be changed or rescinded.
The petition below explains in general terms why this Executive Order is unlawful and asks the agency to not roll-back our hard-won environmental protections. We have included a list of air regulations, many of which GreenLatinos has been working on in the past two years, as well as the Farmworker Protection Standard. As the letter indicates, this list is not exclusive.
Signatures will be submitted to EPA Public Comment Docket.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20460
Submitted via regulations.gov
Docket No. EPA-HQ-OA-2017-0190
Re: Evaluation of Existing Regulations
One of the Trump Administration’s actions to dismantle our country’s regulatory apparatus, Executive Order 13777, Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda, requires federal agencies to evaluate existing regulations and recommend which of these regulations should be repealed, replaced, or modified. In light of this order, EPA is currently holding a “public” process to request input on such regulations.
Executive Order 13777 is unlawful. This order completely ignores the procedures contained in the laws that give federal agencies their authority to issue regulations. Federal laws such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act require the EPA to regulate air and water pollution for the purpose of protecting our public health and the environment; they do not authorize the EPA to weaken environmental protections. These laws expressly provide the factors that EPA must consider in its decision to regulate pollution, which do not include making regulations “less burdensome.” They also state when should the EPA revise them.
EPA must not roll back our hard-won environmental protections. Latinos are shouldering a disproportionate share of the harms caused by air and water pollution and benefit from these rules. Nearly half of Latinos live in counties where the air is unsafe to breathe because it exceeds ground-level ozone standards. Asthma rates in America have doubled in the past 30 years, and Latinos are 60 percent more likely to visit the hospital for asthma. Latinos are less likely to carry health insurance than any other minority group, which makes it very difficult for them to cope with pollution-related health problems.
Many of the most important environmental regulations that the EPA issued in recent years were promulgated to comply with legal obligations that the agency had ignored for decades. EPA must not weaken or rescind these protections. These regulations include, but are not limited to the following:
Clean Water Rule: This rule clarifies which streams and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act, which requires a permit if these waters are going to be polluted or destroyed. These standards help to protect our drinking water, preserve fish and wildlife habitat, and reduce the risk of flooding.
Clean Power Plan: This rule sets the first standards for carbon dioxide from existing power plants, one of the largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. The rule, which is set for implementation in 2022, will reduce carbon emissions, as well as conventional pollutants that cause smog and soot, in turn avoiding thousands of premature deaths, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and hospital visits.
Methane Rule: This rule sets the first standards for methane pollution from onshore oil and gas facilities and operations. The rule will also reduce hazardous air pollutants that cause asthma attacks, emergency room visits, and hospital admissions.
Coal Water Toxics Rule: This rule sets the first federal limits on the levels of toxic water pollutants discharged from coal plants. This rule will reduce the discharge of toxic metals and other pollutants discharged by power plants into our waterways, resulting in cleaner water and benefits for Americans throughout the country.
Ground Level Ozone Standard: This rule strengthens the nationwide smog pollution standards from 75 to 70 parts per billion following 9 years of scientific review and expert testimony from medical experts and public health advocates, which has documented the significant harm the 75 ppb standard posed to public health, particularly to vulnerable populations like children, seniors, and people with severe respiratory illnesses.
Regional Haze Rule: This rule helps to reduce the haze in national parks and wilderness areas by reducing ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, mercury, and other gas particulates emitted from numerous polluting sources. The rule protects clear views in our national parks and improves public health.
Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction Rule: This rule ensures that states issue plans to require industrial facilities to comply with air pollution rules during startup, shutdown, and malfunction periods. Air pollution during these periods has serious health effects for communities living in proximity to these polluting sources and it also contributes to smog in communities downwind.
Mercury and Air Toxics Standard: This rule sets limits on mercury and other toxic air pollutants from power plants. These standards, which many power plants have already complied with, are avoiding asthma attacks and saving thousands of lives.
Emission Standards for Light Duty Vehicles and Standards for Heavy Duty Trucks: This rule, which EPA already found must not be weakened, reduces carbon pollution from transportation and our country’s dependence on oil, saving consumers money at the gas pump. In addition, California and other states that have adopted the same standards as California must be allowed to continue to enforce their own rules. Finally, the Phase 2 heavy truck standards for Model Years 2021-2027, which are the first standards for trailers, will result in technological advances in fuel economy and save businesses money.
Agricultural Worker Protection Standard: This rule will reduce the risk of injury and pesticide poisoning by millions of agricultural workers and pesticides handlers who work in farms, forests, nurseries, and greenhouses. Fewer pesticide exposure incidents will result in healthier workforce as well as avoided lost wages, medical bills and absences from work and school.
EPA must continue to execute its mission to protect our air and water, and should not slash budgets for critical programs that benefit people of color and low-income communities.
GreenLatinos has partnered with Sierra Club to release a post-election nationwide poll of Latino voters and their perspectives on critical environmental and conservation issues.
Latinos are cultural conservationists. Our belief that we are the stewards of our earth is not based on a membership, it is passed down from generation to generation as part of our proud heritage. This poll affirms that Latinos' belief that we have 'a moral responsibility to take care of the earth' is virtually unanimous and that we expect our elected and appointed officials to maintain and enforce vital protections of our air, water, and climate.
President Barack Obama Stand with Standing Rock!
November 12, 2016
Dear President Obama:
We agree with you, and with our Native American sisters and brothers regarding the proposed Dakota pipeline that would run along sacred grounds at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation: “[T]here is a way for us to accommodate the sacred lands of Native Americans.”
Indeed there is a way to respect the Sioux people and sacred grounds by guarding against the proposed pipeline. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must withhold permits for the $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline because the pipeline would cross a navigable waterway. The Army Corps of Engineers emphasizes that permits and projects on navigable waterways including rivers need to comply with the President’s Executive Order 12898 on environmental justice and health. See Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration, Integrated Feasibility Report: Final Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Sept. 2015). The same reasoning applies to the proposed Dakota pipeline.
The Order protects Native Americans against unjustified and unnecessary discriminatory impacts, as well as intentional discrimination, in permitting decisions by the Army Corps of Engineers. The Order requires the Corps to identify and address disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities, including permitting decisions on Indian tribes and other minority and low income populations. Environmental justice concerns may arise, as they do here, from impacts on the natural and physical environment, including human health and ecological impacts, and from related social or economic impacts.
What are the pipeline’s merits and its true costs, including the risk of harm to the sacred lands, with full and fair participation by Native Americans? Who would benefit from alternative routes, and who would be harmed?
The Dakota and Lakota of the Standing Rock tribe at Standing Rock face the risk of grave damage to their sacred grounds and water supply from the proposed pipeline and permitting decision. No one else does. The proposed route threatens places that have been part of the Sioux’s ancestral lands since antiquity. Construction, leaks, and spills would damage their sites of deep cultural and historic significance, including burial grounds. The pipeline was shifted towards the tribe’s sacred lands, away from Bismarck, N.D., because federal regulators saw it as a potential threat to that city’s water supply. The threats cannot be shifted from the city to the Dakota and Lakota of the Standing Rock tribe.
The pipeline would move half a million barrels of crude oil a day across the Plains. “But in a time of oil gluts and plummeting oil prices, is it worth it? Is it worth the degradation of the environment, the danger to the water, the insult to the heritage of the Sioux,” asks The New York Times. The answer is a resounding No!
The threats to the sacred lands at Standing Rock reflect a history and pattern of discrimination against the Sioux. A national monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota lies not far away. The monument stands on sacred land, that land was stolen from the Sioux by the government and plundered for gold, and the monument celebrates the settlers who took so much of the Native American lives, culture, and land.
Under President George W. Bush, the Secretary of the Navy and a Major General in the Marine Corps each wrote a letter against a proposed toll road project that would have devastated the Native American Acjachemen sacred site of Panhe and San Onofre State Beach in Southern California in 2010. The Secretary of Commerce upheld the decision to stop the project. The California Coastal Commission stopped the project in part becauase of the impact on Native Americans alone. The U.S. Army should stop the project along the Native American sacred grounds.
Enough is enough. Please do not allow the proposed pipeline to threaten the Lakota and Dakota people and their sacred grounds at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Army Corps of Engineers must deny any permit that threatens these values. Thank you.
Very truly yours,
President & CEO GreenLatinos
GreenLatinos Board Member
Founding Director and Counsel, The City Project
Robert (Bob) Bracamontes
Yu-va’-tal ‘A’lla-mal (Black Crow)
Acjachemen Nation, Juaneno Tribe
The tragedy of Flint has taught us a great deal about how poor governance can lead to a poisoning of a community. It happened after a decade or more of waning attention to crucial environmental concerns down at the level where Americans live, in their neighborhoods and in homes, particularly for the most vulnerable populations.
What is particularly troubling about the crisis in Flint is that it is a clear example of how communities of color and low-income communities are often left behind.
It's not surprising that a predominantly low-income, predominantly African-American city is facing the most egregious form of environmental injustice. Those who depend the most on government too often are the ones facing the greatest harm, and lack the know-how and political power to address the damage, risk and discrimination they face from this unequal protection.
Worse, in some cases, the elected officials that claim to represent them turn a blind eye.
Unfortunately, Flint is just one example.Read more
1/13/17 | Statement from Mark Magaña, President & CEO of GreenLatinos, on President Obama’s issuance of a Presidential Memorandum promoting diversity and inclusion in managing our nation's public lands
GreenLatinos is excited to Announce that the organization will host one of nine Frank Karel Fellows in 2016.
The Karel Fellowship honors and advances the legacy of Frank Karel, who established, led and nurtured the field of strategic communications during his 30 years as chief communications officer for the Robert Wood Johnson and Rockefeller Foundations. Karel believed that racial and ethnic minorities were underrepresented in the public interest communications field and that foundations and public interest organizations needed to be proactive in recruiting and nurturing broader participation and leadership in public interest communications and advocacy.Read more
Several weeks ago a coalition of Puerto Rican residents who have come together under the name “Puerto Rico Limpio” reached out to me about their struggles with several landfills that were environmental hazards to a number of their communities.
The group members had heard that GreenLatinos was effective in tackling serious environmental issues impacting Latinos, that we had several successes at the federal level, and they wanted us to come to down to Puerto Rico and see first-hand what they continue to deal with every day.Read more
Latino and Indigenous Leaders Call for an Investigation into the Assassination of Lenca Environment Activist Berta Cáceres
FULL STATEMENT PDF HERE
Berta Caceres was honored and celebrated for her work in Honduras fighting for the right of self-determination of the Lenca people who were not consulted and did not consent to the Agua Zarca Dam projected for construction on the sacred Gaualcarque River. Her leadership and advocacy helped pressure the International Finance Corporation to withdraw from funding the project in 2013.