Environmental activists have moved beyond mere opposition to President Donald Trump’s administration’s repealing of environmental regulations, some are now claiming the administration “actually seems averse to protecting the health of people of color.”
That’s what Lisa Garcia with the group Earthjustice wrote in the Huffington Post on Tuesday. Garcia said Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s deregulatory actions are disproportionately hurting minority communities.
The EPA has spent the past years repealing many of the major environmental regulations, including the Clean Power Plan and “waters of the United States” rule, that environmentalists spent years pushing.
Activists have filed a flurry of lawsuits against the Trump administration’s deregulatory actions. Most recently, California’s attorney general sued the Interior Department for rescinding a former President Barack Obama-era regulation on hydraulic fracturing operations.
Garcia, a former adviser to Obama EPA heads, argued, “Pruitt’s inaction is one of many examples of how the Trump administration has attempted to stall the implementation of required health protections so that corporations can focus on their bottom lines, rather than on the communities or neighborhoods they may be polluting.”
“Pruitt proposed eliminating the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice by gutting the $2 million allocated to run it,” Garcia wrote. Pruitt and Trump’s lack of concern for healthy communities, while deeply troubling, has not caused environmental leaders of color to bury their heads in the sand. We’re resolved to fight even harder.”
The group Amazon Watch used Garcia’s article to claim that “[p]eople of color aren’t safe under Scott Pruitt’s EPA.”
— AMAZON WATCH (@AmazonWatch) January 25, 2018
For years, environmentalists have made a concerted effort to message to minority communities. Activists not only want to build their support base, but also diversify their staff and membership.
Former White House green jobs czar Van Jones, who heads an environmental group, said the movement was too white.
“If you go to Detroit, you will find lots of community gardening going on, lots of community cleanup going on, lots of small-scale manufacturing going on,” Jones said.
“None of this is being directed by any mainstream environmental group — these are organic, well-considered responses from people who are trying to make their lives better,” he said. “Those people should be called environmentalists as much as anybody who is standing up for endangered species.”
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