Latino group sides with EPA on climate rule

A board member at a major Latino environmental group joined Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Gina McCarthy in promoting the agency’s rule to limit carbon emissions from power plants.

In a Tuesday column in the Orlando Sentinel, McCarthy and Maria Cardona, who is also a Democratic strategist, said the rule would particularly benefit Latinos who live in areas with poor air quality.

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“This is not a partisan or an ideological issue,” the women wrote. “This is about the health of all Americans.”

Half of all Latinos live in areas that exceed air pollution standards, they said. Many Latinos work in businesses that give them greater exposure to hot weather and air pollution, such as agriculture and construction.

That has led to costly emergency room visits and missed school or work days.

“When we look at these impacts, it's perhaps not surprising that, according to Latino Decisions, a Latino political-opinion research firm, support for action on climate change and environmental protection is second only to Latinos' support for immigration reform,” the authors wrote.

They cited a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll that found that 70 percent of all Americans support the EPA’s rule, to reduce power plants’ carbon pollution 30 percent by 2030. Support is even stronger among Latinos, 83 percent of whom favor the EPA plan.

“Latinos, like most Americans, want to build a clean energy future with greater energy efficiency,” the women said.

The EPA’s proposed rule has garnered praise from other Latino groups, including Green Latinos, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Mi Familia Vota and the National Black and Latino Council.