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Scrapbook: Club EJ Director Speaks Out on National Public Radio

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February 20, 2009

Club EJ Director Speaks Out on National Public Radio

Leslie-Fields

Sierra Club Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships Director Leslie Fields was interviewed on NPR's "News & Notes" program on February 20, speaking about "The Obama Effect" on the environment and energy. Fields is pictured above at left with Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison and EJ Program organizer Karen Monahan.

Appearing with Fields on the program were Grist staff writer David Roberts and Apollo Alliance President Jerome Ringo. Fields told moderator Tony Cox she expects President Obama's stimulus package will jump-start green investment in low-income communities and communities of color. "And these investments aren't just a special package for environmentalists," she stresses. "These projects will help all Americans and the whole economy. I believe the benefits of shovel-ready projects in the stimulus package will be felt very soon."

Asked to weigh the benefits of "clean energy" versus "cheap energy," Fields says the true health costs for people living nearest to polluting facilities are externalized and not really not taken into account. "When asthma rates in children and respiratory problems have skyrocketed, and there's overall poor health attributed to living near polluting facilities or working in them, we all end up footing the bill."

Fields also popped up in the March issue of Ebony magazine, in an article by Kevin Chappell, "Obama and the Black Agenda: 5 Issues the New President Must Tackle." In a section on Energy & the Environment, Fields urged passage of legislation to clean up hazardous waste sites in black neighborhoods and better enforcement of clean air and water restrictions that are often lax in those communities.

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