Earth Justice Rally

9 May 2013

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Rally participants paint a mural in from of the EPA offices

Rally participants paint a mural in from of the EPA offices

By Erin Middleton, Community Outreach Specialist

About 500 people from dozens of diverse groups and neighborhoods ensured their environmental and climate justice demands were heard loud and clear by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the California EPA and the Department of Toxic Substances Control on Earth Day. Participants carried colorful and profound signs such as, “only when the last tree has died, and the last river’s been poisoned, and the last fish been caught, we will realize – we can’t eat money”. Participants marched in front of the US EPA Region IX office in downtown San Francisco.

 

The diverse coalition called for action on community pollution issues and for policy and regulatory action to address pollution and global climate change. Top EPA officials were present to hear the concerns and receive the demands of urban, rural and indigenous low-income and communities of color impacted by pollution, including:

  • Richmond residents who spoke out against Chevron’s failure to replace aging equipment and lax government oversight that caused the fire in August 2012, sending thousands to the hospital.
  • Residents from Bayview Hunters Point, West Oakland, Livermore and other communities who demanded the long-overdue prompt and safe cleanup of toxic contamination sites near homes.
  • Residents of Kettleman City in the San Joaquin Valley suffering from birth defects, infant deaths and childhood cancer who demanded the denial of permits to expand the violation-plagued Chemical Waste Management hazardous waste and PCB landfill in this town that also has contaminated water, pesticides, diesel pollution and fracking.

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    Rally in front of US EPA Region IV Offices

  • Indigenous people, in solidarity with the First Nations of Canada, who led the call for the Obama Administration to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline that would transport dirty crude oil from environmentally destructive tar sands in Canada to the US, and will demand an end to desecration of sacred and culturally significant sites.
  • Residents of the Salinas Valley town of Gonzales, fighting a proposed plasma arc garbage incinerator, who denounced state and federal support for this polluting technology and protest environmental racism.
  • Challenges to the federal and state agencies to comply with and enforce their own civil rights and environmental laws and environmental justice policies, and to deny permits to chronic polluters.
For more photos from the historic event, please visit our Earth Day photo album
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