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Battling Pollution Balances Health Disparities and Brings Economic Opportunity

2014 March 31
Gina McCarthy and Kuae Kelch Mattox


March 31, 2014
11:52 am EDT

Pollution isn’t just a barrier to good health; it’s a barrier to good jobs. Too often, low-income families, the inner-city, and communities of color are overburdened by air and water pollution. President Obama has called closing gaps of opportunity a defining challenge of our time. Meeting that challenge means ensuring clean air, clean water, and safe, healthy work environments. It is our duty, on behalf of the people we serve, to provide equal protection for all. That’s what environmental justice is all about.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Mocha Moms President Kuae Mattox and Board Members of Mocha Moms, Inc.

Photo of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Mocha Moms President Kuae Mattox and Board Members of Mocha Moms, Inc.

 

Mocha Moms, Inc. understands that principle, and launched a National Community Service Initiative in 2009 entitled “Closing the Gap in Minority Health, Prosperity and Achievement.” This wide-reaching initiative promotes education and community service throughout 100 chapters in local communities around the country. Mocha Moms, Inc. and the EPA share a commitment to address environmental health risks and expand the conversation within underserved communities. We are thrilled to announce the continuation of the partnership between the EPA and Mocha Moms, Inc.

Since its founding, the EPA’s mission has been focused on protecting public health and the environment. President Obama’s Climate Action Plan is a comprehensive strategy to address one of the greatest economic and public health threats of our time—and it’s a health threat that drives deeper than the very health gaps and gaps of opportunity we strive to close. And we can tackle climate change in a way that is good for people and the planet. For example, the recently released clean fuel and clean car standards are designed to attack air pollution that affects communities in urban, high-traffic, and congested areas – many of those are minority communities. Reduced pollution means fewer asthma attacks, fewer medical bills, fewer missed work days, and less exposure to cancer-causing chemicals. Once fully in place, the standards will help avoid up to 2,000 premature deaths per year and 50,000 cases of respiratory ailments in children, while slashing carbon pollution that contribute to climate change. The clean fuel and clean car standards are just an example of a commonsense policy that benefited from many stakeholders’ input.

President Obama has said it before—when he’s thinking about climate action, he’s not just thinking as the President, but as a parent. We have a moral obligation to act on climate change for the sake of our children. Mocha Moms, Inc. was also built in part on that principle. Together, let’s work to fulfill that obligation.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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