Sign the petition: Take action against polluters that harm frontline communities

EPA Administrator Michael Regan and President Biden

Not all pollution is the same. A first-of-its-kind study was conducted by ProPublica using a modeling tool developed by the EPA. They were able to create the most detailed map of cancer-causing industrial air pollution in the country.

The findings from this study revealed what many experts were already aware of: that many Americans live in areas where pollution is higher than what the federal government considers acceptable, and most are people of color and are of low socioeconomic status.

The EPA sets the standard for what is considered an acceptable excess cancer risk. Findings from the EPA’s modeling tool reveal that there are over a thousand hot spots of cancer-causing air unequally distributed all over the country and that 256,000 people are exposed to risk beyond the threshold of what the EPA considers acceptable - with more than 43,000 people in zones at almost triple this risk level.

These hot spots where the risk of cancer-causing air pollutants is higher are called sacrifice zones. Communities where mostly people of color reside are 40% more likely to experience these hotspots of air pollutants than mostly white communities. Many in these sacrifice zones lack the resources to know what’s in the air they’re breathing in and to fight back against state-sanctioned regulations that work to protect polluters.

Corporations favor places where land is cheap, and enforcement of existing regulations is loose. Even so, corporations that violate EPA regulations on air pollutants are rarely penalized and are known to report emissions to the EPA using flawed formulas and monitoring methods.

The Biden administration and EPA have pledged their commitment to fighting environmental injustice. We are demanding action.

Sign the petition: Take action against polluters that harm frontline communities.

Participating Organizations:
Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)
Civic Shout
Daily Kos
Friends of the Earth Action
Group Against Smog and Pollution
Hip Hop Caucus
The Juggernaut Project
Progress America
Progressive Reform Network
Stand.Earth
Waterkeeper Alliance

To: EPA Administrator Michael Regan and President Biden
From: [Your Name]

Dear President Biden and Administrator Regan,

Frontline communities are more likely to live in sacrifice zones where cancer causing air toxins are increased. Your approach to reducing this disparity and holding polluters accountable is flawed. I am calling on you to:

- Release an executive order affirming the right of local communities to pass ordinances protecting their public health;
- Take action against polluters who are violating their permits;
- Push for new rules that account for risks posed when multiple facilities are grouped in a “sacrifice zone”;
- Reexamine the EPA’s tolerance for what has currently deemed an “acceptable excess cancer risk” given new information on air toxins that have been revealed since the 1970s; and
- Close the Trump-era loophole that rolled back key provisions of the Clean Air Act, which allows polluters to lax their use of pollution-controlling equipment.