Latino organizations ask White House and EPA to address climate change and make carbon pollution limits a priority.


Twenty Latino leaders and organizations recently submitted a letter to the White House asking President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency for strong standards to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. The Latino population in the United States is particularly vulnerable to the effects of carbon pollution since fully one-half live in counties currently in violation of clean air standards.

“The National Latino Coalition on Climate Change (NLCCC) has joined this call to ask President Obama to take action on climate change because our community’s exposure to polluted air and its health consequences makes us particularly sensitive to the impacts of global warming,” said NLCCC Executive Director Mark Magaña.

The full text of the letter is below:

Voces Verdes, along with our partners and supporters, would like to congratulate you on your re-election. As leaders in the Latino community, we are proud to see the rising level of civic engagement in our community and are eager to work with your Administration in the coming years.

This election made it clear that Latinos want a strong economy, immigration reform and a bright and healthy future for our children. Voces Verdes, and a record number of Latino organizations nationwide representing millions of citizens, are committed to protecting public health and the environment and consider it a high priority for all Americans and our community.

We appreciate your Administration’s efforts to address carbon pollution and protect our health from dangerous air pollution. Your Administration’s stronger standards for automobile fuel efficiency, limits on mercury from power plants, and carbon standards for new power plants, will benefit all Americans, particularly Latinos, one in two of whom live in counties that violate air pollution standards.

Our community’s exposure to polluted air and its health consequences makes us particularly sensitive to the importance of limiting the carbon pollution contributing to climate change. Rising temperatures worsen smog, causing asthma attacks which permanently damage children’s lungs. The broader impacts of global warming suffered by Latinos include heat waves, drought, wildfires and other life-threatening extreme weather events which impact our families, our businesses and our ability to thrive as a community and as a nation.

That is why we appreciated hearing you repeatedly talking about climate change, and why we welcomed your statement following your re-election that we have an obligation to future generations to take action to address climate change.

Fortunately, it is within your power as President to make a critical difference in how our country and the world addresses this issue. Setting carbon limits on existing power plants will not only achieve a significant reduction in carbon pollution, it will create a turning point in our country’s long struggle to cope with this issue.

This is the time for us to rise to the challenge. Please direct the EPA to propose strong standards to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants.

We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and your staff to discuss our commitment to supporting your Administration’s action on this and other issues. We pledge to work with you every step of the way to support such an effort, so that together we may secure a healthy future for our community and for future generations.

Organizations signing this letter include Americas Business Council – Planet Initiative, Common Ground for Conservation, League of United Latin American Citizens, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Mamiverse, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, MANA – A National Latina Organization, National Association of Hispanic Publications, National Hispanic Coalition on Aging, National Hispanic Construction Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Latino Coalition on Climate Change, National Puerto Rican Coalition, Inc.,, William C. Velazquez Institute, the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, and Voces Verdes.

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Coal-fired power plant photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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