January 29, 2011

EPA To Spend $1.2M for "Environmental Justice"

EPA just announced it seeks applicants for $1.2 Million in so-called Environmental Justice Grants. EPA website says that "Environmental justice means the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race or income, in the environmental decision-making process." Hmm. Don't we have democracy and equality? Is anyone in US deprived from the rights to take part in "decision-making process"?
EPA also states "Environmental contamination can lead to costly health risks and can discourage investments and development in low-income, minority, and indigenous communities disproportionately impacted by pollution". From what I read about it, previous studies by Centers for Disease Control shows no evidence that racial minorities experience higher exposure to environmental chemicals than whites on a national scale (see for example aei.org ). As for low-income communities, it was suggested that poor neighborhoods often grew up around existing refineries and chemical plants because the land was cheap. Similarly, new facilities could be built near poor neighborhoods because land there is cheaper. How would these EPA grants change the law of supply and demand in real estate? Of course, 1.2M is a drop in the bucket relative to billions of taxpayers dollars spent by our government. But, there is no doubt, the government has many more spending programs like that.

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