Tell OMB that AA and NHPI communities must be counted

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Steps Coalition and Boat People SOS are working locally with state government agencies to make changes in the way data is collected on the Vietnamese American communities here on the coast.  You can help support our efforts at the national level by taking action today!   Tell the federal government you support Count and Disaggregate Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Data.

Federal agencies are not required to collect detailed data on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities. This mean communities are misrepresented in major policy decisions and often are left our or underfunded as a result.  You have the power to change that!

The White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) is asking for public comments on potential revisions to its 1997 standards for collecting and reporting race and ethnicity data.  These standards apply to all federal agencies and provide data on everything from healthcare, education, housing, transportation, and civil rights.  Data should reflect our unique histories, cultures, resiliencies, and challenges that differently impact our health, housing, education, and economic experiences.

The White House Office of Management & Budget (OMB) is asking for public comments on potential revisions to its 1997 standards for collecting and reporting race and ethnicity data. These standards apply to all federal agencies and provide data on everything from healthcare, education, housing, transportation and civil rights. Data should reflect our unique histories, cultures, resiliencies, and challenges that differently impact our health, housing, education, and economic experiences. 

Often, people assume that Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AAs and NHPIs) are homogenous groups.  They are a huge extended "family" that is richly diverse in culture, languages, strengths, and resiliencies,  Yet, they also face different levels of injustices, disparities, and systemic challenges.  So each time a report falsely concludes that AAs and NHPIs are all healthy, wealthy, and educated and thereby perpetuates the myth of the model minority, it makes it even harder for all of us to bring attention, services and resources to those who need it most.

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Our national partners are organizing a campaign until April 28th to solicit comment to the Office of MAnagement and Budget dat request to support more detailed data on AA and NHPI groups. Currently, federal agencies are not required to count detailed data for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities (e.g. Chines, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Chamorro, Samoan, Tongan, etc.)

This is the first opportunity in 20 years for us to change the standards for collecting and reporting race and ethnicity data.  You can help make a difference in the way that services are provided to the communities that need them.  Will you add your name and tell OBM that AA and NHPI groups deserve to be counted?

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More Drilling = More Oil Disasters

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In the midst of the 7th year Memorial of the BP Oil Drilling Disaster, the Bureau Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is hosting public hearings in the five Gulf state for 2018 GOM Draft Supplemental EIS.  BOEM's 2017-2022 Oil and Gas Leasing Program proposes to lease over 70 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico so that oil and gas companies can drill up to 9.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent over the next 70 years.  BOEM's proposal minimizes the environmental impact and costs associated with catastrophic spills and does not sufficiently justify the need for new leasing in the Gulf in light of emerging renewable energy markets and the seriousness of the climate change.

Last year, concerned citizens across the five Gulf states joined the national Keep It In the Ground and No New Leases campaigns to halt new oil and gas extraction on our land and water.  As a result of national efforts, the Obama Administration removed the Atlantic and the Artic from the Oil and Gas Leasing Program leaving future oil and gas exploration to concentrate in the Gulf of Mexico.  This year BOEM is moving forward with the program and is getting ready to sell off our Gulf to the highest bidder.  But before they do, the public has one more chance to comment on the EIS

The 2018 GOM Draft Supplemental EIS contains analyses of the potential environmental impacts that could result from a proposed region-wide lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico, including preliminary results of new air quality modelling. The preliminary results have not yet been subject to review. BOEM is interested in comments regarding the modelling and analysis. The Supplemental EIS is expected to be used to inform decisions on proposed Lease Sales 250 and 251, as scheduled in the 2017‑2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing:  Proposed Final Program (Five-Year Program). The analyses may also be applied and supplemented as necessary to inform decisions for each of the remaining proposed lease sales scheduled in the Five-Year Program.  

To learn more, citizens should attend the public hearing on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, Courtyard by Marriott, Gulfport Beachfront MS Hotel, 1600 East Beach Boulevard, Gulfport, Mississippi  39501.

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Join Steps Coalition and partners outside the Marriot at 4:00 pm for a press conference.  For more details about the conference, contact Jennifer Crosslin at jcrosslin@stepscoalition.org.

 

 

 

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Communities Have A Right To Know

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Photograph taken by local resident

Last June, a gas processing plant in Moss Point located within three miles of several neighborhoods exploded.  The gas processing plant is owned by BP Amoco and Enterprise Products, LLC.  It is one of the largest gas processing facilities in the nation with the capacity to process up to 1 billion cubic feet per day.  The Destin Pipeline (jointly owned by affiliates of Shell, Sonat, and BP Amoco) carries natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico directly to the plant, and then delivers the processed gas to five interstate pipelines.

Fortunately, no one was seriously injured as a result of the explosion, but nearby residents were concerned about what they might be exposed to as a result of the explosion.  Though Jackson County Emergency Management did not notify or evacuate the surrounding neighborhoods, many were awaken in the middle of the night by the sound and sight of the explosion and decided to evacuate.

Unlike oil and chemical plants, gas processing plants are not required to report the list and quantity of hazard pollutants they release to the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Program.

The TRI Program was created as part of a response to several events that raised public concern about local preparedness for chemical emergencies and the availability of information on hazardous substances.

On December 4, 1984, a cloud of extremely toxic methyl isocyanate gas escaped from a Union Carbide Chemical plant in Bhopal, India. Thousands of people died that night and thousands more died later as a result of their exposure. Survivors continue to suffer with permanent disabilities. In 1985, a serious chemical release occurred at a similar plant in West Virginia.

In 1986, Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) to support and promote emergency planning and to provide the public with information about releases of toxic chemicals in their community. Section 313 of EPCRA established the Toxics Release Inventory.

The EPA is now considering a rule that adds natural gas processing plants to the TRI program.  Communities have until May 7, 2017 to submit their comments about the proposed rule.  The EPA provides the following recommendations for submitting a public comment:

A comment can express simple support or dissent for a regulatory action. However, a constructive, information-rich comment that clearly communicates and supports its claims is more likely to have an impact on regulatory decision making.
 
These tips are meant to help the public submit comments that have an impact and help agency policy makers improve federal regulations. 
 
Read and understand the regulatory document you are commenting on 

Feel free to reach out to the agency with questions 

Be concise but support your claims   

Base your justification on sound reasoning, scientific evidence, and/or how you will be impacted 

Address trade-offs and opposing views in your comment 

There is no minimum or maximum length for an effective comment 

The comment process is not a vote – one well supported comment is often more influential than a thousand form letters

Click here to submit your comments.

To learn more about the health impacts of gas production, check out these resources.

Coming Clean Inc.

Mom's Clean Air Force

Environmental Integrity Project

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EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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LIZZ WRIGHT: PAINTED SKY

Our partners at the Kellogg Foundation shared this incredible video Lizz Wright created of the song she wrote and performed for the National Day of Racial Healing. Hope you enjoy it!

 

 

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Steps Coalition Convenes Disaster Mitigation Planning Meetings

Resilient_Homes_Resilient_Communities.pngSteps Coalition is convening a series of planning meetings with stakeholders, including those most impacted, to develop a strategic action plan to prepare our coastal communities for future disasters and to ensure that all residents and communities have the resources they need to mitigate, adapt, and recover through stakeholder education and advocacy for non-structural mitigation programs and policies

JOIN THE PLANNING TEAM

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The People's Campaign For Solar

emailtopsolarbigger.png100% Renewable Energy Economy in Mississippi is Possible!

Mississippi has taken its first step toward a solar powered future with the passage of the net metering rule. Though it is a positive step in the right direction, there is much more we need to do to transition to 100% renewable energy (solar, wind and water). That is why Steps Coalition would like to invite you to be a part of a strategic planning initiative to build and advocate for a just transition in Mississippi.

REGISTER HERE

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Flooding and Development in Gulfport

Police barricades block off a flooded street in North GulfportAt the end of April, strong storms hit the city of Gulfport causing the mayor to declare a state of emergency. Over 140 homes flooded, and first responders, including two five-ton trucks and three swift water rescue teams, stayed busy rescuing people from homes and businesses. This was a strong storm, but the kind of storm we expect regularly in the Gulf. 

 Much of the flooding was predictable and avoidable. Unfortunately, the City of Gulfport has a history of dangerous developmental practices, including filling in wetlands. This practice allows the cheapest path for development, providing profits for developers at a huge cost to residents and first responders.  Gulfport relies on gravity drainage, but April’s rains showed the vulnerability of the city’s drainage and stormwater handling system. Existing wetlands need to be left in place in areas of the city where foreseeable flood risks are high.

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Stand with Gulf Communities for Clean Energy Economy

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People in the Gulf are standing together to say no to new oil and gas leasing in our Gulf and yes to clean energy jobs and future that begins with putting an end to the expansion of fossil fuels.  You can add your voice and sign-on to the Gulf regional letter to oppose new offshore drilling in our Gulf!

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Gulf Communities Join the Global Actions to Break Free from Fossil Fuels

greenpeace_fb_breakfree_dc_cj1b-400x300.pngMay 4th marked the first day of a two week series of global mass actions to keep oil, coal, and gas in the ground and accelerate the transition to clean energy economy.  With the threat of truly catastrophic climate crisis looming, across the globe, communities on the front lines of climate change and the fenceline of fossil fuel industries are standing together and calling on world leaders to live up to their promises made in Paris last year to stop global temperature from rising above 2 degrees. 

Steps Coalition is thrilled to be part of this momentous effort to protect our communities and future on this planet.  As part of a Gulf delegation, we will be joining thousands of others across the nation for a Break Free action in Washington DC on May 15th.

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Steps Coalition
610 Water Street, Biloxi, MS 39530
(228) 435-3113

Economic Justice | Environmental Justice | Affordable Housing | Preservation of Historical Communities | Human Rights