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Black Mayors Judgment Clouded by Smog: The Air is Tough to Breathe

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-19-07 10:32 AM
Original message
Edited on Wed Sep-19-07 10:33 AM by marmar
from Black Agenda Report:


Black Mayors Judgment Clouded by Smog: The Air is Tough to Breathe
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
by Robert D. Bullard

Environmental racism has moved to the forefront of African American concerns, but some Black mayors have crawled into bed with the polluters. Desperate to get job-creating industry into their communities at any environmental cost, these city executives throw health issues to the winds, their minds clouded by dreams of "economic development." Sadly, the National Conference of Black Mayors' executive director is urging federal officials not to raise standards of allowable air pollution, in fear of chasing away investment in their cities. The result: the populations of Black-led cities will literally choke on the chimera of growth.

"The current ozone standard is not adequate to protect human health"


Members of the National Black Environmental Justice Network (NBEJN), a national preventive health and environmental/economic justice network with affiliates in 33 states and the District of Columbia, are calling on the Black Mayors to support cleaner air for their constituents. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a reduction to between 0.070 and 0.075 parts per million. However, the agency's own Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC), an independent body ozone scientists chartered under the Clean Air Act, concluded that the current ozone standard is not adequate to protect human health and unanimously recommended EPA set a new tougher standard in the range of .060 to .070 per million.

New epidemiological and clinical studies reveal that breathing ozone at concentrations at the current standard of 0.080 ppm, decreases lung function, increases respiratory symptoms, inflammation, and increases susceptibility to respiratory infection. Ozone has adverse lung function and cardiovascular effects and can kill even at 0.06 ppm.

"St. Gabriel is situated in the heart of Louisiana's petrochemical corridor, also known as "Cancer Alley."

At a government hearing in Atlanta on September 5, Vanessa Williams, executive director of the National Conference of Black Mayors, urged EPA to keep its current standard claiming tougher standards will hurt economic growth in black communities. "Cleaner air is important to our communities, but it is not the only thing that affects the health of our people. The health and welfare of our communities is also dependent on having good jobs, economic growth and the quality of life that goes with it," said Williams, speaking on behalf of NCBM president Mayor George L. Grace.

NCBM president Grace is the mayor of St. Gabriel, Louisiana, a mostly black (72 percent) town of 5,500 residents that's located in Iberville Parish (49.7 percent black). St. Gabriel is situated in the heart of Louisiana's petrochemical corridor, also known as "Cancer Alley," an 85-mile stretch that runs along the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. The Baton Rouge Metropolitan area, includes the parishes of East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, and Iberville, is on this list. The Baton Rouge area is classified as a serious non-attainment area.

According to EPA's 2005 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), industrial facilities in tiny St. Gabriel emitted 743,071 pounds of chemical releases and 4.1 million pounds of waste from various stationary sources. While St. Gabriel makes up just 16 percent of the Iberville Parish population, nearly 22 percent of the chemical releases and just under half (46 percent) of the total waste generation is found there. ......(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_c...


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