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The Keystone Pipeline Is An Environmental Justice Issue

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Kelley told me that he was excited Obama had addressed reducing coal-fired plants, but disappointed that "he didn't talk about refinery plants." Kelley offered, "He should have said more about enforcement and compliance. We need fines to fit the crimes that impact thousands of people."

On the toxicity of tar sands oil, Kelley echoed Bullard's concerns. "The sulfur dioxide will go up, as will the ozone. There will be an increase of 20 to 25 percent in emissions."

Having been born and raised on the West Side of Port Arthur, Kelley stated plainly, "It's time for people to stop being complacent. Corporations should not have eminent domain."   He asked, "How is the pipeline serving the greater good? It should not be allowed to happen--not on the backs of Americans who will be exposed to these highly toxic fumes. Low-income people should not be subject to this."

Kelley is concerned that residents will be "flooding hospitals in Port Arthur due to increased emissions." These people, who he described as "sitting right on the fence line" of oil refineries, petrochemical plants, and incinerator facilities, will be seriously impacted. "We deserve a better quality of life," he said.

In her first public speech, new EPA head Gina McCarthy vowed to continue the environmental justice work of her predecessor Lisa Jackson.

McCarthy has her work cut out for her.

This article originally appeared on Moms Clean Air Force


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Marcia G. Yerman is a writer, activist, artist and curator based in New York City. Her articles--profiles, interviews, reporting and essays--focus on women's issues, the environment, human rights, the arts and culture. Her writing has been published (more...)
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Once again, the least powerful among us bear the g... by Marcia G. Yerman on Monday, Sep 2, 2013 at 11:13:56 AM