Innovation and Environmental Justice in Texas
Last week, Administrator Jackson traveled to Texas to meet with families, students, business owners and local leaders. The two-day trip was part of the Administrator’s ongoing effort to highlight the benefits of clean energy innovation for all Americans and draw attention to environmental pollution’s disproportionate health impacts on poor and minority communities.
Administrator Jackson began her trip in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday with representatives from Congressional Hispanic Caucus member, U.S. Representative Silvestre Reyes’ office (Reyes himself was grounded by bad weather in DC). They received an on-site briefing of the former American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) facility – once a source of significant air pollution in the region. Today, the air is cleaner, and as plans to revitalize the site take shape EPA is assisting local leaders to see that the land is cleaned up safely and put to good use. Next, the Administrator hosted a forum on environmental justice issues at El Paso Community College. There she listened to and spoke with citizens about their environmental concerns and addressed the health and economic benefits of clean air and water for communities. Many people expressed concern about negative health impacts the ASARCO plant may have caused themselves and their families. Administrator Jackson pledged that EPA will continue to monitor clean up until the job is done. The Administrator’s last stop in El Paso was a tour of the Tech H20 Water Resource Learning Center, where the innovations at work are models for communities across the nation.
On Administrator Jackson’s second day in Texas she traveled to San Antonio where she was joined by Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair U.S. Representative Charles for meetings with local community members, business leaders and students. She, Gonzalez and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, toured St. Philips College. There the Administrator got a first-hand look at the college’s green jobs training program and how the school is harnessing the abundant clean energy resources in Texas, like solar and wind, to power their campus. Later, Administrator Jackson hosted a round table discussion on environmental justice issues with community members. She ended her time in Texas with a visit to St. Mary’s University, where she hosted a student forum and answered questions about winning the future through investment in green job innovation and other major environmental issues.