When Ian Kim imagines the world his 7-year-old daughter will be living in 20 years from now, he says it keeps him up at night. Images of ever more frequent super storms like Sandy, along with rising seas, or drought and heat waves wreaking havoc with crops haunt his waking hours.
“It’s a huge worry for me,” said Kim, a self-described environmental and social justice activist. “On a scale of one to 10, it’s a 10.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has emerged as a punching bag for members of the Republican-led House of Representatives. The House wants to slash the agency’s budget and some conservative lawmakers even want to abolish it.
The politicians and some businesses say environmental regulation is stifling the country’s economy. Ngoc Nguyen with New America Media recently interviewed Carl Pope, executive chairman of the Sierra Club, about what’s behind the attack on the EPA. Following is their conversation.
NAM: What’s happening with current efforts to undermine the EPA that people should be aware of?
Pope: The big picture is, during the eight years of the [George W.] Bush administration, it effectively suspended enforcement of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. [The administration] stopped enforcing them and tried to basically repeal them to rewrite the rules in a way that wouldn’t do what Congress intended. The courts without exception rejected the efforts by the Bush administration.
New America Media
People who live in neighborhoods with dirtier air and water -- usually low-income and ethnic minorities -- will bear the brunt of climate change, according to a report, “The Climate Gap,” released last month.
Climate change will increase pollution, harm public health, raise the costs of food, energy and water, and result in job losses, with the greatest burden falling on communities of color and the poor, the study found.
New America Media
Asian-American voters in California care about the environment and could swing votes on environmental measures, a new poll has found, bucking conventional wisdom.
The groundbreaking multilingual poll, released in early May, surveyed 1,002 Asian-American voters on their views about environmental issues and compared results to a poll of 564 state voters. Interviews were conducted with Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese and Asian Indian voters.
“Asian Americans should be paid attention to,” said James Lau, executive director of the California League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, which commissioned the poll. “They are supportive of a lot of environmental issues.”
Asian Americans made up about 10 percent of California voters in the 2008 elections. If tapped by environmental activists, this fast-growing voting bloc could be a powerful swing vote on environmental policy legislation, advocates say.
Environmental issues are extremely or very important to them personally, said 74 percent of respondents, compared to 66 percent of state voters.