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COMMENTARY: An Excellent Congressional Challenge to “Environmental Justice” – Alex Epstein


These translations are done via Google Translate

Members of Congress just submitted and signed an excellent ETP-advised letter challenging the Biden Administration’s most recent “Environmental Justice” initiative.

By Alex Epstein

I have long been a critic of the “environmental justice” movement. Like so many aspects of the anti-fossil-fuel movement it ignores the benefits of fossil fuels and overstates their negative side-effects.

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Unfortunately, many in Congress have long been reluctant to challenge “environmental justice,” for fear of being labeled as unconcerned about minority or low-income populations.

Happily, 11 Members of Congress just submitted and signed an excellent letter challenging the Biden Administration’s most recent “Environmental Justice” initiative—and they specifically focused on the benefits of fossil fuels and other forms of cost-effective energy that EJ advocates ignore.

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Read the full letter here.

Here are some highlights, many of which utilize my favorite talking points and in some cases mention my work directly.

  • “The Biden Administration has made it a goal to ‘protect’ underserved communities, yet refuses to acknowledge that affordable and reliable energy production is a key factor that leads to healthier communities, increased incomes, improved education, and economic parity. By shutting down energy and infrastructure projects under the guise of ‘justice,’ the Biden Administration is hurting the communities it claims it is trying to help.”
  • “we request that CEQ include the following in their scorecard.
    1. A detailed study into how reliable and affordable energy increases access to healthcare and increases life expectancy.
    2. Detailed monthly breakdowns of rate increases across the United States and what impacts these rate increases have on low-income communities.
  • Energy consumption, GDP, and life expectancy are intrinsically tied, as demonstrated by the below graph. Adults living at or below the poverty level are five times more likely to report poor or fair health than those living with incomes above 400 percent of the federal poverty level.”

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  • “In 2020, a planned natural gas plant in Virginia was shuttered due to EJ concerns. Despite the fact that natural gas is an affordable and reliable source of energy while releasing less CO2 emissions than coal and oil, the plan was stopped by local citizens who claim, ‘it does nothing for us.’”
  • “The Low-Income Housing Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a canary in the coal mine. This program helps pay energy bills for low-income families, but the cost of energy and the lack of transmission infrastructure in the U.S. is so severe that LIHEAP can only service roughly 16 percent of the households in America that qualify for the program.”
  • “in 2020, 34 million U.S. households (27 percent of all U.S. households) reported difficulty paying energy bills or reported that they had kept their home at an unsafe temperature because of energy cost concerns. More than one third of Americans say they reduced or skipped basic expenses, such as medicine or food, to pay an energy bill in 2022”
  • Industry is the heart of prosperity. It spurs economic growth, resulting in additional disposable income, increased tax revenue, and improved access to healthcare. China and India, two of the world’s largest fossil fuel producers, are evidence of this. If these nations were subject to Environmental Justice regulations, their GDP and life expectancy would not follow the sharp increase seen in the charts below.”

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Congratulations to the 11 Representatives who submitted this excellent letter:

  • Rep. Dan Newhouse (Chairman, Congressional Western Caucus)
  • Rep. Pete Stauber (Minnesota’s 8th District)
  • Rep. David Valadao (California’s 22nd District)
  • Rep. Byron Donalds (Florida’s 19th District)
  • Rep. Buddy Carter (Georgia’s 1st District)
  • Rep. Russ Fulcher (Idaho’s 1st District)
  • Rep. Cliff Bentz (Oregon’s 2nd District)
  • Rep. Jeff Duncan (South Carolina’s 3rd District)
  • Rep. Tom McClintock (California’s 5th District)
  • Rep. Mike Carey (Ohio’s 15th District)
  • Rep. Harriet M. Hageman (Wyoming At Large)

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