Environmental Justice and Public Health Forum highlights need for public comments to demand safer chemicals

© Amy Roe

Michele Roberts from the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform.

On October 2, 2014 environmental justice advocates, community members, faith leaders, nurses and elected officials joined together in a forum at the Episcopal Church of Saint Andrew and Matthew on the environmental justice public health crisis impacting communities across the country.

Sponsored by Delaware Concerned Residents for Environmental Justice, Michele Roberts of The Environmental Justice & Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, Juan Parras from Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (TAJAS), and Richard Moore of Los Jardines Institute lead a discussion of environmental risk and community resistance.  The experiences that we face in Delaware, including close proximity of homes, parks and schools to sources of pollution, chemical facilities and oil trains are mirrored across the nation and are disproportionately impacting communities of color.

Two recent publications detail the extent of the problem:

© Amy Roe

Richard Moore of Los Jardines Institute. Richard’s community in New Mexico was drinking polluted water for decades.

58% of Delaware’s school children attend school within the vulnerability zone of a high-risk chemical facility!

Prompting the discussion is the October 29, 2014 deadline on the Environmental Protection Agency’s comment period for its Risk Management Program.

Your help is needed!  Click here to submit comments.

Your comments could include your personal experiences dealing with environmental justice and/or living, working or attending school near a chemical facility.

Ask the EPA to act immediately to address the disproportionate impacts that place some communities and constituencies at greater risk of a catastrophic chemical release.

Ask the EPA to include the following in the final revisions to the risk management program:

  • Community members from across the state participated in the discussion.

    Community members from across the state participated in the discussion.

    Assessment of potential safer chemicals and processes must be mandatory, and the results of alternatives assessments must be made public;

  • Conversion to safer alternatives must be mandatory whenever one or more alternatives are available, effective, and affordable;
  • Information on dangers and alternatives must be easily available to workers, communities, and first responders;
  • Education and training for workers and fenceline communities must be dramatically improved; and
  • The Risk Management Program must be expanded to include new elements and additional chemicals.

 

 

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