Press Release

U.S. Rep. Castor, local advocates demand climate action and environmental justice for Tampa residents

Hispanic heritage month provides the chance to highlight opportunities to address air pollution and the costly impacts of the climate crisis

f t # e
Washington, October 9, 2019 | comments
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) rallied with Gonzalo Valdes from Sierra Club Florida and Yaritza Perez from Ecomadres (Green Latinos/Moms Clean Air Force) to outline the steps needed to ensure a healthier future for all as temperatures climb and risks escalate – no matter what zip code you live in.
share: f t

Today, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) rallied with Gonzalo Valdes from Sierra Club Florida and Yaritza Perez from Ecomadres (Green Latinos/Moms Clean Air Force) to outline the steps needed to ensure a healthier future for all as temperatures climb and risks escalate – no matter what zip code you live in. Latinos in the United States feel the effects of climate change more because of where they live and work -- more than half (55%) of Latino-Americans live in three states that are already experiencing serious effects related to climate change: historic drought in California, record-breaking heat in Texas and increased sea level rise and flooding in Florida.

Video is available here. Photos are available here.

“This is Hispanic Heritage Month, and the Tampa Bay has long had its foot firmly planted in Latino progress, from the history of activists in Ybor City and West Tampa to students fighting on the frontlines today for equality and equal treatment. Today we came together to talk about something important to the Latino community, environmental justice,” Castor said. “Higher temperatures have real world impacts right here in the Tampa area. Today we stood across the street from a sign that warns Town ‘n’ Country neighbors of storm surge up to 17 feet high – storm surge made worse by climate change.

“Combating climate change means enacting solutions that work for all of us. Those who are most impacted by our rapidly changing climate are our frontline communities who can’t afford flood insurance, families who can’t pay higher electric bills or those who don’t have places to turn when disaster strikes.

“We need to take action to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. It’s time to begin the transition to 100 percent clean energy, and I am grateful to do this hand in hand with organizations like Green Latinos, Sierra Club and Ecomadres. It will take all of us working together to ensure all communities here in Tampa and across the country with fewer resources have access to clean water, clean air and safety from the devastation that comes with higher temperatures and stronger storms.”                                                                       

Nearly 1 in 2 Latinos in the United States live in counties that frequently violate standards for ground-level ozone, a key component of smog that exacerbates asthma and other respiratory illnesses leading to more missed days of school for our Latino students. According to a 2019 report by the American Lung Association, Hillsborough County has a “D” letter grade for high ozone days, the lowest grade among monitored counties in state of Florida.

Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Castor invited Leon W. Russell, Chair of the NAACP National Board of Directors, as her guest to the State of the Union in order to bring light to the disproportionate effects that low-income communities, communities of color, and those experiencing discrimination face from extreme weather and climate events. She also announced two federal grants awarded to the University area, including one from the Environmental Protection Agency for Brownfields funding, continuing her work to lift up the families, students and businesses who live and work in this growing area of innovation.

###

f t # e