Washington, DC: An "environmental justice" public relations tour of economically-disadvantaged communities being led by EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and members of the Congressional Black Caucus is being criticized by Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli as a desperate attempt to play the "race card" to bolster the Obama Administration's "cap-and-trade" emissions proposal.
Borelli contends energy limits, such as those in the Waxman/Markey bill approved by the U.S. House last year, would devastate the communities the EPA-CBC tour is highlighting as in need of help.
The tour begins today in Greenville, Mississippi and will stop in Maryland, South Carolina and Georgia.
CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) played the race card in an EPA press release, saying: "The consequences of global climate change, disastrous trends of environmental degradation, and our nation's perilous dependence on fossil fuels are being felt in communities here in the United States and around the world, especially in communities of color."
Project 21's Borelli counters that there is little to back up Lee's claims, and that more regulation would actually exacerbate problems in communities said to need environmental justice.
"Having lost the climate change argument on popular, economic and scientific grounds, those who want to regulate fossil fuels have stooped to playing the race card," noted Borelli.
Borelli continued: "Environmental justice is supposed to be about jobs and a better quality of life for disadvantaged minority communities. If the Obama EPA had its way, 'cap-and-trade' policy related to energy and emissions would instead likely destroy jobs and lower the quality of life in the very communities they allegedly want to help. It is shocking that the Congressional Black Caucus would willingly promote something that would likely do more harm than good among their constituents."
Borelli continued, "A study of cap-and-trade for the National Black Chamber of Commerce suggests new emissions regulations would destroy 2.5 million American jobs a year and lower the wages of those still working by almost $400 annually. The Congressional Budget Office separately concluded 'most of the cost of meeting a cap on [carbon dioxide] emissions would be borne by consumers,... [and] poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would.'"
Borelli added, "A recent survey of black Americans commissioned by the National Center for Public Policy Research found that 76 percent of blacks surveyed preferred Congress concentrate on economic recovery rather than climate regulation and that 38 percent thought such regulation would hurt black communities most. And 52 percent of those surveyed also did not want to have to pay anything more for electricity or gasoline in order to reduce alleged man-made greenhouse emissions.
"Finally, all of this man-made climate change speculation could be based on irresponsible science. Recently revealed e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit showed prominent climate scientists expressing uncertainty about their claims, questionable research practices and an unwillingness to consider alternative theories."
Borelli concluded, "For the Congressional Black Caucus to inject race as a means of promoting new emissions regulation is simply wrong. Environmental justice can best be served by looking into reforming regulations that hold communities back and kill jobs."
Project 21, established in 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org), a non-profit foundation established in 1982 and funded primarily from the gifts of over 100,000 recent individual donors.
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