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EPA Administrator Jackson and Representatives from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Wrap Up Texas Visit with Focus on Environmental Justice / Two-day visit highlights EPA efforts to protect human health and facilitate clean energy innovation

Release Date: 01/28/2011
Contact Information: EPA Press Office, press@epa.gov

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and representatives from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus wrapped up a two-day trip to El Paso and San Antonio, Texas. The trip is a part of the administrator’s ongoing effort to highlight the benefits of clean energy innovation for all Americans and draw attention to environmental pollution’s disproportionate health impacts on poor and minority communities. Administrator Jackson discussed the agency’s work safeguarding Americans from health threats like toxic air and water pollution and observed clean energy innovation in action.

The administrator kicked off the trip on Thursday in El Paso, where she was joined by representatives from Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) member U.S. Representative Silvestre Reyes’ office. (Congressman Reyes was unable to attend after bad weather in Washington, D.C. grounded his flight.) The administrator started the visit with an on-site briefing on the cleanup of the former ASARCO smelting plant. After that she met with local leaders to talk specifically about water quality and access concerns. The administrator also hosted a forum on environmental justice issues at El Paso Community College on Thursday where she listened to and spoke with citizens about their environmental concerns and addressed the health and economic benefits of clean air and water for communities. Administrator Jackson also visited the El Paso Water Utilities Desalination Plant and Tech H2O Center, which is expanding El Paso’s access to clean water and creating jobs in the region.

Today, the administrator was joined by CHC chair U.S. Representative Charles Gonzalez in San Antonio for meetings with local community members, business leaders and students. She and Gonzalez toured St. Philips College, where they got a first-hand look at the college’s green jobs training program and sustainable power infrastructure efforts. Later, Administrator Jackson hosted a round table discussion on environmental justice issues with community members. She finished the Texas tour at St. Mary’s University where she hosted a student forum and answered questions about winning the future through investment in green job innovation and other major environmental issues.

“One of the most valuable experiences to me as the administrator of EPA is getting outside of the D.C. beltway and connecting with the American people in their own communities,” said Administrator Jackson. “Hearing perspectives on environmental justice from students at El Paso Community College, seeing innovative water management developments at Tech H2O Center and learning how local business leaders and colleges are fostering a renewable energy industry in San Antonio will help us in our mission to protect the health and environment for all Americans.”

Environmental justice, one of Administrator Jackson’s top priorities, focuses on ensuring equal environmental protections for all Americans and alleviating the disproportionate environmental burden that many poor, tribal and minority communities face today. Over the past several months, Administrator Jackson has visited a number of impacted communities across the country and met with local leaders and community members to discuss EPA’s work to address these environmental concerns.

More information about EPA’s environmental justice efforts:
http://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/