Position – Climate Change and Environmental Hazards
April 5, 2019
All people, regardless of race, color, national origin or income, deserve equal protection from the effect of climate change and other environmental health hazards and a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.
All people also deserve fair treatment and meaningful involvement with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
Climate change and environmental hazards have been a problem for a long time and they are getting worse. They threaten the fundamentals that sustain life and health–fresh water, food, clean air, shelter, and security, ultimately our health and survival.
The St. Louis region is home to some of the most egregious social and environmental disparities in the nation, including the radioactive Westlake landfill, the underground fire at the Bridgeton landfill and the chemical waste in the coal ash ponds in Franklin County.
Low-income communities, communities of color, native and tribal communities, the very young and very old, and those with chronic illnesses experience the negative consequences disproportionately.
Environmentally hazardous sites, such as dumps, factories, energy production facilities, highways, ports and airports, are concentrated in their neighborhoods.
The result is that our most vulnerable people have to struggle most with the health and social problems caused by these pollution-emitting sites.
Also, although climate change will affect everyone, the poor have the fewest resources available to avoid its anticipated concrete consequences such as changes in housing requirements, water needs, and health issues.
OUR ADVOCACY POINTS
We support the following initiatives to protect sustainable quality of life for the present and future generations in a just and equitable manner.
- Municipal Level – READY FOR 100 Campaign.
Cities and communities across the country are getting ready for a transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. We encourage all local municipalities to adopt the Sierra Club’s READY FOR 100 Campaign. St. Louis City, Kansas City and Columbia have signed on.
- County Level – Advocate for adoption of 2018 Energy Efficiency Codes in St. Louis County. St Louis County is now governed by the 2009 Energy Efficiency Codes. St. Louis City is up to date on this.
- Metropolitan Level – Replace diesel buses with electric ones. Our most densely populated areas have the most bus routes. In St. Louis, the Metro transportation system has only four electric buses in a fleet of 408. Advocate for Metro to increase the number of electric buses.
- State Level – MACC (MO Air Conservation Commission) enforces the Clean Air Act. Only four of the seven MACC positions are filled, and they are occupied by non-friendly environmental appointments. Apply to be a commissioner and/or encourage your state senator to nominate environmentally friendly appointments.
- Protect public health, support job creation and generate economic opportunity by encouraging Missouri elected officials and policy makers to implement a Clean Power Plan to reach or exceed carbon reduction goals. This can be done by transitioning to renewable energy sources like wind and solar power and enacting energy efficiency and conservation standards.
- National Level – Encourage your U.S. Senators and Representatives to maintain the United States’ moral leadership on climate change by honoring the Paris Agreement (COP21) and taking swift action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2025.