Hillary Aims For Environmental Justice; Campaign Going Well
by Jeff Dinelli
This month Senator Hillary Clinton will introduce legislation aimed to help communities which are greatly harmed by pollution. Entitled the Environmental Justice Renewal Act, combined with another bill she co-sponsored, would require the EPA to monitor and control pollution caused by power plants, waste treatment facilities and ther transportation methods, refineries and other problematic industrial situations which happen to affect communities made up of the poorest people of our society. For years there have been grassroots movements to address these problems, which disproportionatly affect minorities and those with low-incomes, but this would be the first time the federal government would actually address them. As the NY Times piece reports, blacks are 79% more likely than whites to live in areas where air pollution causes health problems. Lead poisoning rates of Hispanic and black kids are double what white children face.
There will be much resistance from Congress and the community leaders themselves, the latter of which would be concerned about losing jobs. Environmental leaders maintain that moving to "green energy," more high-tech plants and refineries or switching the practices of existing facilities, would actually help create more jobs, not cut those already held. There will always be debate between environmental goals vs. economic growth in these situations. But kudos to Hillary for attempting to do something about the obvious fact that toxic waste sites and landfills are always on inexpensive land where poor, minority citizens live. One question is, why wasn't Barack Obama the first to bring this up?
Today's Washington Post has an overview of the primary races as of now, and most observers believe Hillary's campaign is the best one out there.
"Hillary is for real, and will be difficult for any of her Democratic opponents to derail," wrote Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster who jointly conducts the NBC-Wall Street Journal poll. "She simply doesn't make mistakes and is running a pretty disciplined campaign."
Whit Ayres, another GOP pollster, put it this way in an interview: "Barack Obama has run a good campaign given his level of experience, and he is obviously a very bright man. But he is no match for Hillary Clinton and her team. They are too experienced, too professional and too tough for a candidate who has never run a serious campaign for any office before."
Finally, Hillary has joined 5 other Democratic nominees who will refuse to campaign in states that plan on defying the DNC and try and hold earlier primaries than Iowa or New Hampshire. From a Clinton point of view, this turns out to be a good thing, if Florida and Michigan do indeed hold primaries in January. She has comfortable leads in both states, and would give her a boost going into the traditional states on the calender.