Recent Articles

Communities of color bear the brunt of environmental hazards

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in June will announce a new “carbon rule.” The “common-sense” rule involves updating toxic air pollution standards, including new monitoring requirements for petroleum refineries of benzene, which can cause respiratory problems and other health concerns, and requiring updating of emissions from storage tanks, how gases are destroyed. EPA officials say if implemented the proposal could reduce toxic air emissions by 5,600 tons per year. Karen Monahan, a local environmental justice advocate, says the public comment period opens June 2. She helped organize the May 15 environmental forum at Kwanzaa Community Church, and told the packed room that everyone must let both the EPA and Washington lawmakers know that this rule is very important and should be fully supported. “We want to make sure it is a just carbon rule,” she explained, “because we know that communities of color bear a disapportionate burden when it comes to climate pollution. Continue Reading →

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U of M study: Race matters most in determining who breathes bad air

The Twin Cities earn yet another racial disparities distinction

By Isaac Peterson
Contributing Writer

In April, researchers at the University of Minnesota released a study showing that people of color in the U.S. typically breathe air that is 38 percent more polluted compared to their White counterparts. The study concluded that race and income are major contributing factors in how much polluted air is breathed, but that race matters more than income. Using satellite observations, data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and maps of land uses, the research team was able to compare the geographic data with Census figures to determine socioeconomic disparities in air pollution exposure. The study was national in scope and provided information on air pollution on a nationwide basis, broken down to show comparisons between urban and rural areas as well by city, county, and state. The pollutant the study tracked was nitrogen dioxide (NO2), one of the main pollutants targeted by the EPA, which considers it one of the most significant threats to air quality. Continue Reading →

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