Air Pollution Deaths Still Disproportionately Impacting Communities of Color   

HELENA, MT- American Petroleum Institute (API) wants the public to believe that it is committed to diversity and combatting climate change, but according to a new scientific study, one in five deaths worldwide is directly linked to fossil fuel pollution that disproportionately impact communities of color. Big Oil corporations are notorious for setting up shop in vulnerable neighborhoods and in communities of color, exposing people near industrial oil and gas development and refining sites to higher levels of pollution that are linked to higher rates of life-threatening diseases and deaths.  

“The American Petroleum Institute and other Big Oil corporations are attempting to greenwash the dirty reality of their work by purporting to uplift diversity and support environmental justice. This, of course, is all lip service — and couldn’t be further from the truth. This one lobby shop is responsible for critical air quality rollbacks and gutting numerous other pollution safeguards under the corrupt Trump administration, using top officials as favor troughs — putting special interest and greed above the health and well-being of the American public,” said Accountable.US spokesperson Jayson O’Neill 

The study found that eight million people die each year as a result of particulate matter pollution from the fossil fuel sector alone. The Biden administration has rightfully made environmental justice a priority in order to address the disproportionate impacts pollution has on communities of color. A NAACP study from 2017 found that Black Americans are 75% more likely to live near toxic air pollutant emitting oil and gas refineries and facilities, leading to higher rates of cancers, heart disease, respiratory diseases and other life-threatening illnesses. 

The U.S. economy and financial institutions were shifting to a low-pollution and low-carbon energy future long before the Biden administration took office, yet API claims that returning commonsense regulations on air pollution and reducing climate change inducing gases like methane and carbon will hurt the fossil fuel industry even as the sector recorded its fifth consecutive month of job gains.   

API’s Past Influence and Access to Trump’s Taxpayer-Fueled Favor Trough:  

  • Trump’s Interior Worked On API-Identified Priorities And Granted Its Execs High Profile Meetings. American Petroleum Institute arranged a meeting with Interior Associate Deputy Secretary James Cason and other high-level Interior officials to discuss energy issues in February 2017. API sent a list of 53 rules they identified as areas for concern. A ”priority target for repeal” was the Methane and Waste Prevention rule.  [17-00434cc, Department of the Interior, Pages 739 – 768]  
  • API Even Met With Donald Trump In The White House, Along With Several Other Big Oil Corporations. On April 3, 2020, The Trump White House meet with Exxon Mobil CEO Darren Woods, Chevron CEO Mike Wirth, Occidental Petroleum CEO Vicki Hollub, Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren, Continental Resources Founder Harold Hamm, Devon Energy CEO Dave Hager, And Phillips 66 CEO/American Petroleum Institute Chair Greg Garland.  [E&E News, 04/02/20]  
  • API Backed Trump’s Methane Regulation Rollbacks. “In August, API backed the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era regulations targeting methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, saying at the time that the revisions were consistent with the Clean Air Act.” [E&E News, 01/21/21
  • Methane Accounts For Around 10% Of Greenhouse Gas Emissions But Is Responsible For A Quarter Of All Man-Made Global Warming. “Methane, which leaks from oil and gas wells, accounts for about 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity in the United States, according to E.P.A. data. But it is about 30 times more potent over the course of a century than carbon dioxide in altering the Earth’s climate and is responsible for about a quarter of man-made global warming.” [New York Times, 07/21/20
  • API Falsely Claims Joe Biden’s Policies Will “Undermine Or Eliminate An Industry.” “The oil lobby group is also skeptical of proposals by Biden and Democrats to help affected fossil fuel workers transition to jobs in cleaner energy or to compensate state and counties for the hit on revenues from a leasing ban. ‘The idea that you are going to seek to undermine or eliminate an industry and then provide them with government jobs in a New Deal-type of fashion is pretty insulting to U.S. oil and gas workers.’” [Washington Examiner, 01/13/21

Keep tabs on the false rhetoric coming from the American Petroleum Institute and Big Oil at Accountable.US. 


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