Press Releases, Uncategorized

Poll Shows Bi-Partisan Support for New Rules to Prevent Chemical Disasters

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          

Poll Shows Bi-Partisan Support for New Rules to Prevent Chemical Disasters
But Will EPA Fall Short?

(Washington DC—October 8, 2015)— As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers new chemical plant safety rules, a new national survey of likely 2016 voters shows strong support among Democrats, Republicans and Independents for policies that would eliminate catastrophic hazards.

Strong majorities across gender, age, race, partisanship, and region support new requirements to use safer chemicals and processes. Overall 79 percent of likely voters support these new requirements and only 17 percent oppose them:

  • Democrats: 88 percent support, 76 percent strongly
  • Independents: 77 percent support, 60 percent strongly
  • Republicans: 70 percent support, 49 percent strongly

Since the deadly 2013 West, Texas fertilizer disaster 82 people have been killed and 1,600 injured in over 400 chemical plant incidents. According to facility reports to the EPA, over 100 million Americans still live in chemical hazard zones. In addition to putting facility employees at risk, communities closest to hazardous facilities are disproportionately African American and Latino.

In an October 8th letter to President Obama, leaders of the Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters cited the new polling results and warned the President that his August 2013 Executive Order (#13650) directing EPA and other agencies to modernize their regulations has yet to yield new safety regulations.

In their letter to the President the groups said:

We fear that the EPA may fall far short of the prevention policies you advocated for in the Senate, and the principles your administration advanced on Capitol Hill. Primary among those principles were requirements to use safer chemical processes or inherently safer technologies (IST) where feasible.”

“It is essential that the EPA make cost-effective inherently safer technologies (IST) requirements an integral part of any revision of its Risk Management Program (RMP) to eliminate the many catastrophic hazards faced by workers and communities across the U.S.

The groups also reminded the President that cost-effective safer alternatives are widely available (eg., Washington, D.C.’s waste water treatment plant and all U.S. Clorox facilities have converted), but new requirements are needed to ensure their use.

The poll was done by Lake Research Partners on behalf of the BlueGreen Alliance, Center for Effective Government, Communications Workers of America, Greenpeace, Union of Concerned Scientists and the United Steelworkers.

###

Contact: Eric Steen, Director of Communications
BlueGreen Alliance
(612) 325-6110 (c)
Erics@bluegreenalliance.org

Sabrina Williams, Communications Director
Center for Effective Government
(202) 683-4883
swilliams@foreffectivegov.org

Candice Johnson, Director, Communications Department
Communications Workers of America
202-434-1347
cjohnson@cwa-union.org

Rick Hind, Legislative Director
Greenpeace
(202) 413-8513
Rick.hind@greenpeace.org

Seth Michaels, Communications Officer
Union of Concerned Scientists
202-331-5662
smichaels@ucsusa.org

Michael J. Wright, Director of Health, Safety and Environment
United Steelworkers
(412) 562-2580
mwright@usw.org

Lake Research Partner designed this survey, which reached a total of 1,009 adults nationwide in the continental United States (508 by landline, and 501 by cell phone), including 794 likely voters. It was conducted from August 20-23, 2015, and has a margin of error among adults of +/-3.1% and among likely voters of +/-3.5%, both at the 95% confidence interval. The margin of error is higher among subgroups.

Poll Memo:
http://www.lakeresearch.com/images/share/memo.ChemicalFacilitySafety.F.100815.pdf

Poll Power point:
http://www.lakeresearch.com/images/share/report.ChemicalFacility.Omnibus.FRev.100815.pdf

/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/coalition-ltr-to-obama-2015-final.pdf

http://preventchemicaldisasters.org/resources/158971-2/

http://comingcleaninc.org/whats-new/whos-in-danger-report#sthash.kzGJ9WDF.dpuf

Press Releases, Uncategorized

Environmental Justice and Health Alliance Statement on the Interagency Working Group Report

Environmental Justice and Health Alliance Statement on the Interagency Working Group Report on Chemical Facility Safety and Security

Contact: Stephenie Hendricks, Coming Clean
(415) 258-9151, shendricks@comingcleaninc.org

June 6, 2014

Chemical Disasters: Obama’s Task Force Announces Report Environmental Justice and Health Alliance Responds

It’s Time to Turn Words Into Action, Say Environmental Justice Leaders

(Washington, DC) This morning, the federal Interagency Working Group on Chemical Facility Safety and Security released its report to President Obama, which includes recommendations for actions to prevent chemical disasters like the April 2013 explosion in West, Texas that leveled an entire neighborhood. The recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) were finalized following an extensive stakeholder process including public Listening Sessions around the country.

The Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform (EJHA) mobilized its thirty-two affiliate organizations in 12 states throughout the stakeholder process to demand that the federal government prioritize the safety of the communities and workers most at risk of chemical disasters and adopt strong requirements to prevent disasters through transition to safer chemicals and processes that already exist.

EJHA leaders reacted to the White House announcement and the Interagency Working Group report by promising to continue to hold the Administration’s feet to the fire until their communities see results on the ground that make them safer.
Richard Moore, Co-Coordinator of the EJHA and former Chair of EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, said: “It’s clear that the Working Group listened to the voices of the communities and workers most at risk of chemical disasters. There are recommendations in their report that can help prevent disasters if they are enacted. But words are not enough. The Administration now has to turn these words into actions – into regulations that are adopted within the next eighteen months.”

Michele Roberts, Co-Coordinator of the EJHA, said: “We need the President and federal agencies to support the environmental health rights of all people, especially the 3.8 million Americans who live in the fenceline zones closest to the most dangerous facilities. These communities, where people live every day in danger, have populations with much higher percentages of Black, Latino, and low-income people than the U.S. as a whole. Today, 20 years after the signing of the presidential executive order on environmental justice, and 50 years after the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, again we see that race is still a factor. That said, our communities must be constantly engaged as partners during this entire process.”

Juan Parras, Director of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services in Houston, where dozens of high-risk chemical facilities endanger tens of thousands of residents who are disproportionately Latino and African-American, said, “We have to get beyond the false hope that industry will voluntarily protect us. We need federal requirements for facilities to convert to safer chemicals and technologies, period. Our communities have already waited too long, through disaster after disaster. It’s time for real action before the end of this Administration.”

On May 1, the EJHA released its own recommendations for policies to prevent chemical disasters as part of a new report called Who’s in Danger? Race, Poverty, and Chemical Disasters, co-authored with Coming Clean and the Center for Effective Government. The report found that more than 134 million Americans live in the chemical disaster vulnerability zones of 3,433 of the most dangerous facilities, and that 3.8 million live in the fenceline zones closest to potential disasters. The populations of these most dangerous fenceline zones are much more Black, Latino, and low income than the U.S. as a whole.

The complete Interagency Working Group report can be found at: https://www.osha.gov/chemicalexecutiveorder/final_chemical_eo_status_report.pdf

The Who’s in Danger? report and related materials are available at: http://www.ej4all.org/whos-in-danger-report
Background materials on environmental justice and chemical disasters are available at: http://louisvillecharter.org/ChemicalSecurityandEJ.shtml

For a list of spokespeople available to comment – see more here: http://comingcleaninc.org/whats-new/ejha-statement-iwg-report#sthash.p7OltTOj.dpuf

Blogs, Uncategorized

President Obama A Broken Record on Preventing Chemical Disasters?

Crossposted from http://greenpeaceblogs.org/2013/10/21/president-obama-a-broken-record-on-preventing-chemical-disasters/

By John Deans, Greenpeace USA

With the media flurry since the West, TX explosion it would seem that chemical disasters are somehow a new issue. Yet, communities who live near these facilities and workers who operate them have lived with these dangers for decades. President Obama, too, has talked about the need for action on this issue since his early days in politics.  As early as his book The Audacity of Hope in 2006 he said “…let me suggest at least one area where we can act unilaterally and improve our sanding in the world – by perfecting our own democracy and leading by example. When we continue to spend tens of billions of dollars on weapons systems of dubious value but are unwilling to spend the money to protect highly vulnerable chemical plants in major urban centers, it becomes more difficult to get other countries to safeguard their nuclear power plants.”

Greenpeace is a supporter of The Coalition to Prevent Chemical Disasters which has just released a video with some of these quotes and a call for the President to live up to his sentiments, watch and share:

Consistent with these quotes and the many others was his historic executive order issued on August 1, 2013. This order directs his agencies who deal with chemical plants to use current regulatory authority to come up with better solutions to prevent chemical disasters. It just so happens there is a solution consistent with the President’s long-standing position.

Read the rest of the blog here!