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NAACP Support of Ensuring Safeguards to Reduce Air Pollution

WHEREAS, the NAACP has committed to ensuring safeguards to reducing air pollution in Resolutions in 1993, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2009 on the environmental and climate justice challenges in our communities; and

WHEREAS, sound principles of climate and environmental justice oppose processes that are damaging to the environment, increase inequity, and more severely impact communities of color and low income communities; and

WHEREAS, over 70 percent of African-Americans live in counties in violation of federal air pollution standards; and

WHEREAS, in every one of the 44 major metropolitan areas in the U.S., African Americans are more likely than Whites to be exposed to higher air toxic concentrations. As a result, African Americans are nearly three times as likely to be hospitalized or killed by asthma; and

WHEREAS, emissions from pollution include lead which has been tied to educational and behavioral challenges thereby impacting learning opportunities for children of color and potentially contributing to the school to prison pipeline; and

WHEREAS, emissions from air pollution include mercury which has been tied to negative birth outcomes and African American families already suffer from high rates of low birth weight babies and infant mortality; and

WHEREAS, the presence of toxic facilities in communities have negative effects on property values, thereby negatively impacting the economic wellbeing and wealth development potential of communities of color which disproportionately host facilities that emit pollution; and

WHEREAS, many of the pollutants that affect human health and wellbeing are also advancing the progression of climate change and climate change disproportionately impacts the civil and human rights of communities of color through the increase in the frequency and severity of severe weather events, the shifts and reduction in agricultural yield and accompanying impact of availability and affordability of nutritious foods, as well as the rise in sea level with the resulting displacement of communities; and

WHEREAS, multiple policy initiatives have been introduced in Congress to defund and lessen the power of the Clean Air Act as well as to significantly reduce the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency which is tasked with monitoring and regulating pollution and other harms to the air that we breathe, the water we drink and the land on which we live.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP reiterates its support for the Clean Air Act as a critical bedrock policy for the protection of environmental and human health and wellbeing; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP will put the power and resources of the Association's units and members behind protecting and defending environmental policies designed to provide safeguards to ensure that all communities are breathing clean air, ingesting clean water, and living and thriving on safe lands.