Wednesday, June 20, 2007

EJ Blog Poll Says Department of Energy Best on EJ

Current results from the EJ Blog Poll at the bottom right of this blog indicate the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is the best federal agency on addressing environmental justice. To date, DOE received 46.7 % of the vote.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was second with 33.3%. The Department of Interior has 13.3%. The Department of Agriculture has 6.7%.

The poll remains open so feel free to vote. We weill report the results again in a month or two or upon the request of any reader.

1 comment:

Sara said...

This poll makes absolutely no sense to me. None of the federal agencies listed have what anyone could consider a positive track record on environmental justice. Without offering an option for "None of the above", you offer the mistaken impression that any of these agencies give due consideration to how their policies adversely impact low-income communities and communities of color throughout the United States.

The Department of Energy insists on forcing through its Yucca Mountain, Nevada, project as a repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel, which will endanger all communities adjacent to freeways and railways. Yucca Mountain is also considered a sacred site by the Western Shoshone tribe of the Nevada area. The Department of Interior (which is inclusive of the EPA) also includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a department that is notorious for its issuance of permits to extractive industry to operate on native lands despite the protests of tribes. The Environmental Protection Agency has effectively destroyed the Clean Air Act by failing to regulate CO2 emissions (among other air contaminants), and weakened the Clean Water Act by allowing mountain removal used by the mining industry in the Appallachia. The Department of Agriculture does little to help communities adjacent to large corporate farmlands. These communities bear the brunt of soil and water contamination by agri-business, but the agricultural lobby is so strong in Washington that the USDA will not develop stricter standards on fertilizer and pesticide applications.

Let's be clear about one thing: no government agency, whether local, state or federal, responds well to the needs of Environmental Justice communities without constant, strategic pressure from the public. These agencies are supposed to protect the common trust (air, water, soil, plants/animals), but the influence of corporate interests has made government agencies either unable or unwilling to their jobs properly.

Is the purpose of your poll to give a pat on the back to a federal agency that only gives token consideration of environmental justice (such as creating an Environmental Justice Advisory Board), without actually achieving environmental equality?