Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
The environmental justice movement is predicated on the belief that there is widespread “environmental racism” whereby minorities and the poor are victimized by the deliberate placement of polluting facilities. Here are a couple of definitions:
Environmental racism is an internationally recognized sociological term referring to the enactment of any policy or regulation that negatively affects the living conditions of low-income or minority communities at a rate disproportionate from affluent communities.
The phenomenon can be either intentional or unintentional, and the term is often used to describe specific events in which minority communities are targeted for the siting of polluting industries and factories
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Environmental justice/environmental racism are staples of the progressive left, of which Obama is an exemplar. Indeed, he has portrayed himself as a battler against environmental racism while he was a community organizer.
Now consider a couple of recent news items. Obama has praised Brazil for drilling for oil offshore. The Obama administration is providing $3 billion in loan guarantees for a Columbian oil refinery. Just yesterday, Obama pleaded with foreign oil producers to increase output:
Amid a surge in the cost of gasoline, President Barack Obama said Tuesday he is calling on major oil producers such as Saudi Arabia to increase their oil supplies and lower prices, warning starkly that lack of relief would harm the global economy.
“We are in a lot of conversations with the major oil producers like Saudi Arabia to let them know that it’s not going to be good for them if our economy is hobbled because of high oil prices,” Obama said in an interview with a Detroit television station.
Now, at the same time that Obama is praising, subsidizing, and pleading for increased energy output abroad, he is doing everything to stop energy production here–on environmental grounds. EPA rules are forcing a shutdown of Shell’s plans to drill offshore in the Arctic. The administration is still slow-walking drilling approvals in the Gulf of Mexico–and as a result, rigs are moving from the Gulf to Brazil. The EPA has gone to the mattresses over permitting refineries in Texas.
I’m genuinely curious. Just how do Obama, and Obama’s EPA, square their environmental justice/environmental racism rhetoric with their simultaneous war on energy production here in the US and support of energy production overseas? Why is the administration promoting “policies [and] regulations that negatively affect the living conditions of low-income [countries] at a rate disproportionate from affluent [countries, notably the US”? How are their policies not environmentally racist–by their own definitions? It is a puzzle.