Why are Black people more exposed to oil industry pollution?

NAACP finds that African-Americans are geographically closer to gas and oil refineries

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A new report issued on Tuesday by two advocacy groups stated that African-Americans are bearing the brunt of pollution when it comes to the oil and gas industries.

The NAACP civil rights group and the Clean Air Task Force report indicated that African-Americans are disproportionately more likely to experience health problems because of pollution, noting that more than half a million African-Americans live within half a mile of these industries and over 6.7 million have a refinery in their county.

“African-Americans are exposed to 38 percent more polluted air than Caucasian Americans, and they are 75 percent more likely to live in fence-line communities than the average American,” the report stated.

“In the current regulatory environment, the disproportionate burden of pollution will only increase for low-income communities and communities of color,” the report added, referencing the current administration’s propensity to throw out environmental regulations.

“Defending the safeguards finalized during the Obama administration and pushing for additional protections against pollution from the oil and gas industry will help improve the health of many African American communities,” the NAACP-CATF report argued.

The report also advised communities to take matters into their own hands and lobby for the removal of refineries, saying, “We must all learn about the oil and gas facilities that are located in our communities, and advocate for their decommissioning or removal.”