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Environmental justice leaders to converge on all EPA regional headquarters Jan. 19, challenge Obama’s “Clean Power Plan”

January 15, 2016

Grantee News From Climate Justice Alliance:

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Environmental justice leaders to converge on all EPA regional headquarters Jan. 19, challenge Obama’s “Clean Power Plan”

The environmental justice leaders of the Climate Justice Alliance will organize peaceful public actions in all 10 EPA headquarters across the country on January 19, 2016. This mass movement for clean energy and local, living economies offers praise, criticism, and a different path forward as the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan moves into its implementation phase this year.

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Albuquerque, NM | 12 January 2016  — Environmental justice leaders from frontline communities hardest-hit by climate change and pollution will converge on 10 Environmental Protection Agency regional office headquarters Jan. 19, 2016, to mark the end of the final public comment period for the Obama Administration’s federal Clean Power Plan to reduce power plant carbon emissions 32% by 2030. These peaceful protests and press conferences will launch the “Our Power Plan,” the Climate Justice Alliance’s answer to the Clean Power Plan. Community leaders are also arranging private meetings with EPA Regional Administrators on that day.

“We were relieved to see the Obama Administration publicly acknowledge our extractive energy system kills and sickens low-income, Native, and communities of color first and worst,” explained Ahmina Maxey, a campaign leader with Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) member GAIA – Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. “Our families live where the mining, fracking, burning, and dumping are worst. In climate change disasters like Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Irene – and cyclical economic disasters like the Great Recession – our people are on the frontline of harm at every point along the way.”

“Missing from the EPA’s picture is how our frontline communities are also the source of clean energy innovation and cutting-edge economic and environmental policy,” added Elizabeth Sanders, a leader with CJA member Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.  “We are already blazing a clean energy trail across the country. We’re seeding transformations like Navajo solar power replacing coal in Black Mesa, Arizona. We’re building a working-class eco-village with its own clean energy and zero waste infrastructure in Jackson, Mississippi. The Clean Power Plan should be an important point of leverage to grow the seeds Our Power Campaignleaders have already planted.”

The “Our Power Plan” provides an environmental justice counterpoint to the Clean Power Plan. It was produced by 19 of the member organizations within the Climate Justice Alliance who plan to engage with the EPA and state policymakers over the coming years. The “Our Power Plan” points out critical oversights in the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and demands the Federal and State Implementation Plans:

–develop alternative incentive mechanisms that allow EJ communities and households to directly participate and access efficiency incentives outside a carbon trading process;

–reduce and regulate carbon emissions and pollutions equitably across the supply chain–from the point of energy extraction to power plants that are overwhelmingly located in indigenous and minority communities;

–eliminate regulatory loopholes and incentives for all dirty energy, including natural gas, incineration, biomass, nuclear power, and coal;

–increase emphasis on and resources for energy efficiency;

–further prioritize frontline and low-income communities to ensure they directly benefit from investments and employment in renewable energy and conservation.

The Clean Power Plan requires that states demonstrate how they have and will continue to engage low-income and minority communities. Climate Justice Alliance members will intervene to ensure that robust environmental justice and equity provisions are included in every State Implementation Plan. They are also using this inclusion process to advance a vision they call the “Just Transition” away from fossil fuels, extraction, and dirty industries to a new economy that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the source while putting decision-making in the hands of communities.

“We appreciate the EPA’s commitment to environmental justice in the final version of the Clean Power Plan,” agreed CJA National Coordinator Michael Leon Guerrero. “But let’s be clear: our vision of environmental justice is transformative rather than corrective. We need a “Just Transition” away from the era of “dig-burn-dump” energy that includes a complete playbook for local, living economies. This means clean community energy, and also zero waste; regional food systems; public transportation; efficient, affordable, and durable housing; and ecosystem restoration and stewardship.”

From the January 19th, 2016 actions to the final September 2018 EPA deadline, authors and co-signers of the “Our Power Plan” will remain directly involved in Clean Power Plan processes over the coming years. Climate Justice Alliance members will vigorously promote frontline community leadership and a more politically courageous vision of clean energy.

“Everyone who cares about climate change must speak out during the Clean Power Plan State Implementation Processes,” urged Fletcher Harper, Executive Director with Our Power Plan endorser, GreenFaith. “Our clean energy future depends on an educated public determined to end the era of extractive energy. Climate disruption is here. Your family’s survival depends on the collective vision, ingenuity, and determination of people like those leading the Our Power Campaign.”

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Climate Justice Alliance Our Power Plan Day of Action sites & coordinators

See www.ourpowercampaign.org/ourpower 

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