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The Fair Climate Connection

March 24, 2011

Welcome back!
 
We use this newsletter as a means to communicate news, events, best practices and upcoming opportunities related to fair climate solutions.
  
Have any field strategies, stories, events or successes you'd like to share in an upcoming issue of this newsletter? Email FairClimateProject@nwf.org so we can feature you!
  
How can we improve our newsletter? What do you want to read about?
 
Please take the time to answer the questions in this 1-3 minute survey. We appreciate your input! 
In this issue...
Highway to Hell and the Roads Along the Way (Part 1 of 2)
Toxic mercury: It's What's for Dinner
"Latinos will pay price for cuts to EPA," new report says
NAACP Announces Support of Efforts to Curb Greenhouse Gases
Funding Opportunities

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About Us

The goal of NWF's Fair Climate Project is to build and engage a national network of leaders representing underserved communities to advance equitable and just solutions to climate change. We work to forge connections between community leaders and decision makers to jumpstart local projects and national initiatives that promote green communities, clean energy, and green jobs.


Clean air, clean water and abundant wildlife sustain Americans from all walks of life. We all have a shared responsibility to protect these resources for our children's future.  At NWF, we are working to bring together diverse voices to affect decisions that will create safe and healthy communities for all.

Follow-up Links
Events
March 25-27. At the Crowne Plaza in Austin, Texas 
  
April 3-5 at the Pennslyvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA   
  
The State of Environmenal Justice in America Conference: Building the Clean Energy Economy with Equity April 27-29 at the Washington Mariott at Metro Center in Washington, DC
   

 

 NTAA/EPA Air Policy Call March 24 (7-8 pm)
 Tribal Designations Workgroup Call April 7 (7-8 pm)  


 

Equity Caucus at Transportation for America hosts two webinars on transportation equity 

A Sustainable Future: Preserving and Expanding Biking, Walking, and Public Transportation Funding   

     Wed. March 30

    1-2pm EST

Transportation Policy to Build Strong Rural and Tribal Communities

    Wed. April 27th
    1-2pm EST

   

America's Climate Choices
Hosted by the Union for Concerned Scientists and accessible at any time
 


 Climate Resilient Cities Program: Coastal Climate Adaptation in the Southeast (Available any time)
Presented by SACE (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy) and ICLEI's (Local Governments for Sustainability) Climate Adaptation Webinar series
The Climate Resilient Cities Program was designed specifically to help communities be informed and engaged in climate change adaptation. It offers invaluable tools and free resources to help communities through the process of assessing vulnerabilities, setting goals for resilience, and developing adaptation strategies that integrate with existing hazard and comprehensive planning efforts.
Highway to Hell and the Roads Along the Way (Part 1 of 2) Nellis Kennedy-Howard headshot

By Nellis Kennedy-Howard, Fair Climate network member and National Campaign Associate for Honor the Earth, an organization to promote energy justice in Native America way of life.


People around the globe value the Boreal forest in Alberta, Canada for a number of reasons. For one, the forest represents of the earth's remaining intact forest, and it makes up 11% of the planet's terrestrial carbon storehouses. It's known for its wildlife habitat, which is home to moose, bear, and endangered species such as the woodland caribou and the whooping crane. However, to indigenous peoples of the region, the Boreal forest is important because it is home. It has been their home for generations, the ancestral site of their hunting, fishing and gathering.


Unfortunately, nearly every big oil company in the world has targeted the Boreal forest as a hot spot for oil, even if it is some of the dirtiest and most difficult oil to extract. The oil derived from the Boreal Forest comes from tar sands, a claylike, tar-infested mud that spans an area roughly the size of Florida.

3.24.2011 Nellis Kennedy-Howard Boreal Forest
A cherished home to many indigenous peoples is turning into Big Oil's toxic playground.


The tailings (the leftover toxic waste) from the tar sands cover an area roughly 50 square miles and are growing by 80 Olympic Sized swimming pools every day. With every barrel of oil that is created from the tar sands, two barrels of toxic waste are also made. Over the course of a year, these tailings ponds leak over a billion gallons of toxic contaminated water into the environment.

 

It should come as no surprise that the local First Nations who survive on subsistence living are now experiencing overwhelming rates of rare cancers and various illnesses. This project has changed their entire way of life. And they are fighting back.

 

You can read the rest of the blog and take action to support the First Nations peoples in their fight against the most destructive project on the planet here.

 

Air pollution
Take action: Our nation's biggest polluters are fighting to block these standards, but if enacted, the EPA's safeguards could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year!

Toxic Mercury: It's What's for Dinner

by Katharine Pelzer, Fair Climate Project at NWF

 

Mercury and other dangerous air pollutants have long been connected to extreme health problems such as brain damage, learning disabilities, birth defects, heart disease, cancer and even premature death.

  
As many as 1 in 6 American women of childbearing age have enough mercury in their bodies to put a baby at risk for mercury poisoning.
  
You may wonder, how can this be so?
  
We've known for decades that mercury is devastating to our health. However, coal plants spew mercury and other toxics (like arsenic) from their smokestacks every day and this is putting us all at risk- not only are the pollutants affecting our air quality, but mercury from these plants accumulates in local waterways and poses a direct risk to people when they eat contaminated fish.
  
We finally have a chance to end the cycle.
  
Last week the EPA announced the proposed rule on Mercury & Air Toxics Standards which is aimed at protecting public health. The new rules will cut harmful emissions of mercury as well as arsenic, chromium, nickel, and acid gases

and benefit children's health by preventing 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms and 11,000 cases of acute bronchitis among children each year.

 
The EPA needs to hear from all of us telling them that we support life-saving protections that can keep mercury pollution out of our communities.
  
Take advantage of the right to public comment. Make your voice heard.
  1. NWF online Action Alert.
  2. By email: a-and-r-docket@epa.gov Attention Docket No. EPA-HQ-OAR- 2009-0234.
  3. Regulations.gov website (http://www.regulations.gov). Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  4. Fax: Fax your comments to: (202) 566-9744, Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2009-0234.

"Latinos will pay price for cuts to EPA," new report says  

 

The Center for American Progress released a report today claiming that Latinos will bear the brunt of the consequences if Congress curbs U.S. EPA's Clean Air Act regulations.


The report stated that 66% of Latinos live in areas that do not meet the federal government's safe air quality standards. "The fact of the matter is, Latinos live in areas that have very bad air," CAP research associate Jorge Madrid told reporters in a conference call today. "Latinos are three times as likely to die of asthma as whites."

CAP report on Latinos
88% of our nation's farm workers are Latino, and these employees and their families are regularly exposed to harmful pesticides in both the air and water. (SOURCE: AP/Sandy Huffaker)


CAP released the report as lawmakers debate EPA's authority to use the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases. House Republicans have introduced several measures to stop the EPA from going forward with rules to limit harmful emissions, in what many call the largest assault on public health, clean air, and clean water in years. (See this article for more information.)


"Latinos will pay the price for cuts to the EPA. They and their children will be exposed to elevated levels of risk and harm," Madrid wrote. "An inordinate number of Latinos and their families will bear higher risks to both their health and their finances than the rest of the nation if these cuts pass."

 

"Latinos must speak up and reject attempts to put their communities in harm's way. They must demand a strong EPA that can protect them from polluters and help ensure clean air and water for future generations."

 

NAACP Supports Efforts to Curb Greenhouse Gases

 

On March 14, Hilary O. Shelton, Director of NAACP Washington Bureau & Senior VP for Advocacy and Policy, announced NAACP's support of the EPA's efforts to curb greenhouse gases.

 

"Under the authority granted to the EPA by the Cl

NAACP
NAACP announced support of the EPA's efforts to regulate greenhouse gases.

ean Air Act the EPA has announced that as of January, 2011, new or substantially renovated major stationary sources of air pollution - such as power plants or refineries - would be required to use the best technology available to reduce harmful emissions, including "greenhouse gases" which are responsible for climate change. 

 

Efforts to slow or stop the effects of global warming are especially important to low-income and racial and ethnic minority Americans as we disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change.


In Congress, there are at least eight bills intended to roll back or limit the EPA's ability to reduce greenhouse emissions.  One bill, by Congressman Fred Upton (MI) (H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011) was recently approved of by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and will likely come before the full House in the very near future. H.R. 910 would prohibit the EPA from limiting greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. 

 

The NAACP opposes H.R. 910 and any other legislation which would limit or eliminatine the EPA's ability to reduce greenhouse gases. 

 
For more information on the Clean Air Act, attempts to curb greenhouse gases, and why this issue is of special importance to racial and ethnic minorities, please click here." 

 

Funding Opportunities 

Environmental Justice Small Grants Program - $1.2 million

Application due: March 31, 2011 

 

Since its inception in 1994, the Environmental Justice Small Grants Program has awarded more than $21 million in funding to 1,200 community-based organizations, and local and tribal organizations working with communities facing environmental justice issues.
The Environmental Justice Small Grants Program, supports and empowers communities working on solutions to local environmental and public health issues. The program assists recipients in building collaborative partnerships to help them understand and address environmental and public health issues in their communities. Successful collaborative partnerships involve not only well-designed strategic plans to build, maintain and sustain the partnerships, but also working towards addressing the local environmental and public health issues. For more information, click here.

 

EPA Environmental Education Regional Grants- $1.9 million

Application Due: May 2, 2011
Eligible Applications: Local education agency, college or university, state education or environmental agency, nonprofit organization, or a noncommercial educational broadcasting entity
 
EPA is seeking grant proposals from eligible applicants to support environmental education projects that promote environmental stewardship and help develop knowledgeable and responsible students, teachers, and citizens. This grant program provides financial support for projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques as described in this notice. Under this solicitation EPA expects to award environmental education grants from the 10 EPA Regional offices. EPA expects approximately $1,943,000 to be available for grants in amounts of a minimum of $15,000 and a maximum of $100,000. Each of EPA's 10 Regions anticipates funding a minimum of 2 grants resulting in a minimum number of grants issued to be approximately 20 grants nationwide. For more information, contact Karen Scott at EEgrants@epa.gov or read the full solicitation at http://www.epa.gov/education/pdf/solNotice2011.htm.

 

DOE Weatherization Formula Grants- Likely to be approximately $210 million

Application Due: Varies by program year
Eligible Applications: Agencies that administer the WAP program
 
DOE requests proposals for the Weatherization Assistance Program Formula Grant. The purpose of WAP is to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings owned or occupied by low-income persons, reduce residential expenditures, and improve health and safety. Lead applicants must be agencies that administer the WAP program. Proposals due date varies by prime applicant's program year. Grantees will be notified as soon as an update on FY 2011 funding becomes available. For planning purposes, until a final budget is passed and signed by the President, grantees should proceed with their respective plans using the same funding level as the DOE 2010 appropriated funds. For more info, contact Meghaan Hampton at Meghaan.Hampton@netl.doe.gov or go to: https://www.fedconnect.net/FedConnect/?doc=DE-FOA-0000446&agency=DOE

 

Currently, the Fair Climate Project is working to create an online resource for funding updates. Stay tuned on this development!