By: Renee Millard-Chacon, member, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: August 31, 2020
About: Environmental Protection Agency Review of NAAQS for Ozone Docket ID No. EPA-HQOAR-2018-0279
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Kualli Tlanezi, Buenos Dias, and Good Morning,
I start off by asking...
Do you truly know what extractive industries and predatory capitalism have done to my land of Commerce City, Colorado? And what further lack of protections to EPA regulations for air quality and pollution from oil and gas will do to Indigenous, Black, and People of Color during this pandemic if there is no action to protect our most sacred element for breath and life-giving itself? The air?
I live on the land of the Ute, Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Jicarilla Apache, Navajo, and Comanche people. We have the worst air quality with several counties in Colorado scoring an F- grade for air quality in both Harvard studies and the American Lung Association. We have survived genocide both physical and in the American identity. Now the surviving generations, both urban and rural, of the thousands of Indigenous descendents of 48 tribes that still travel through Denver have to survive the degradation of the quality of our air, water, and land, we hold more sacred than you. This is environmental racism at its core and the moral panic I have no choice but to carry and bring attention to for the sake of our future generations.
My name is Renee Millard-Chacon. I am a mixed Indigenous womxn with ancestors from Southern Colorado and New Mexico. I am a Xicana activist, youth program coordinator at Spirit of the Sun in Denver, founder and cultural educator at Womxn from the Mountain, but most importantly mother of two precious sons. I am determined to be a good ancestor for them in social justice and climate justice for the rest of my life.
After eight years in the U.S. Navy with my husband, we now reside in Commerce City, Colorado, which has become known for the insidious pollution of Suncor and other extractive industries choking IBPOC from plumes of mixed pollutants to fracking sites approved within yards of homes, schools, and families. Learned from the women before me, as an Indigenous womxn, we have the resilient perspective of survivorship from fully realizing predatory targeting to exploit resources and people. We have survived this for centuries, we know what predators look like. Extractive industries and the type of predatory economy they contribute to along roadways, truck stops, and man camps have also contributed to sex trafficking, human smuggling, and the worst-known epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women, children, men, and people with no state or federal protections in the Colorado area or nationally. Exploitation of people, resources, and land leaves Colorado Indigenous, Black, and immigrant communities as the most dehumanized and severely impacted by health effects both before and now during our Earth's modern pandemic of COVID-19.
Marginalized and impoverished Indigenous and Black communities experience this degradation as nausea, nosebleeds, headaches, asthma, anemia, childhood leukemia, and babies born at low birth weights. The particulate pollution also makes those suffering from these affects more susceptible to death by COVID. Without powerful federal protections, communities surrounding fracking wells and oil and gas sites are left powerless with NO accountability from the industries creating the pollution and the governments allowing the degradation for political contributions. We are tired of being preyed on.
When you rob others the ability to thrive on quality sacred land, you are controlling peoples lives and right to life-giving. No government has the moral right to take by suffocating, condemning, and degrading our communities' environmental sovereignty.
In a Keating Research Poll released this year, 73% of urban Colorado communities and 68% of suburban Colorado communities are concerned that toxic pollutants in Colorado’s air and water affecting the health of them and their family will worsen. 66% responded that new air quality and water quality laws would positively affect our health, while doing no harm to our economy and jobs. Most of all 73% of Colorado voters support a law that expands emissions monitoring and emergency notification for uncontrolled emission of hazardous air pollution. With 67% of Colorado voters also supporting a law that would increase Colorado’s maximum daily fine for air and water quality violations. Your time to be good ancestors is now by strengthening EPA federal protections for air quality. Stop protecting or even allowing predatory polluters, and start protecting people and future generations.
Correct the corruption to the health of the nation from extractive industries. No economy should become deadly to any community, especially the Indigenous, Black, and People of Color communities that no longer will stand to be be preyed upon.
Thank you and have a good day!