By: Shaina Oliver, Colorado State Coordinator, Moms Clean Air Force
Date: September 28, 2022
About: Environmental Protection Agency Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OLEM-2022-0174
To: Environmental Protection Agency
Thank you for providing the opportunity for public comment today. I want to remind everyone that we are on ancestral lands of over 574 Indigenous tribes of North America. My name is Shaina Oliver. I live on the ancestral lands of the Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and Ute Nations, including the 45 tribes that once occupied the state of Colorado. I am a State Coordinator for Moms Clean Air Force and EcoMadres Colorado. I am an advocate for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights to clean air, water, and lands. Moms Clean Air Force is united in fighting for all children’s right to a safe and healthy environment.
I am an Indigenous mother of four. We are the descendants of the genocide known as the “Indian Removal Act,” known to the Dineh as “the long walk of the Navajo.” These types of human rights violations have deeply impacted Indigenous peoples’ communities, health, wealth, and environmental well-being. The federal government is responsible for acknowledging and honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Rights over ancestral lands, upholding the Peace and Friendship Treaty and respecting Traditional Ecological Knowledge.
I am speaking in support of the proposed EPA Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention (SCCAP) rule that will strengthen the Risk Management Program to better protect communities, like mine only five miles from the Suncor Refinery. Facilities covered by the Risk Management program are frequently clustered together and located near other industrial and commercial facilities, which compounds the risk that nearby schools, playgrounds, and communities could be polluted by multiple hazards at once.
Nearly 200 million Americans live near a Risk Management Program facility in the US. We know that exposure to harmful chemicals can worsen respiratory and other health conditions. Over 434,000 community members, including myself and my youngest son, live with asthma in our state. Over one in every three schoolchildren in the US attends a school within the vulnerability zone of a hazardous chemical or petrochemical facility. Communities of color make up 50% of the population living within one-mile of an RMP facility.
It's vital that EPA address the cumulative health impacts from multiple pollution sources in an updated and strengthened Risk Management Program rule. It is the EPA’s responsibility to regulate chemical and petrochemical facilities appropriately since many of the accidents that impact surrounding communities are preventable. We must ensure that there is a mechanism in place to require corrective action to prevent incidents and accidents at these facilities.
I support the EPA Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention (SCCAP) rule with strengthened Risk Management Program rules to protect all communities at risk of environmental harms.
Thank you for taking my comments.