Friday, May 27, 2022

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High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.

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Education Secretary Cardona calls for action after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to U.S. and its allies.

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High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

NW Heat Wave Exposes Inequities, Need to Prioritize Low-Income Communities

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021   

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Last month's deadly heat wave in the Northwest underscored the need to reduce carbon emissions, but advocates want to ensure low-income communities aren't left behind.

Rose Lathrop, program director for Sustainable Connections, based in Bellingham, said electrifying buildings is key, since they are the fastest-growing source of carbon pollution in Washington state.

"That's up 50% from 1990, and that's due to gas and oil appliances like furnaces, hot-water heaters and stoves," Lathrop outlined. "So the more of this infrastructure that we place inside of homes, the more likely we're going to see internal gas leaks."

Lathrop noted appliances like gas stoves also negatively affect indoor air quality, which is an even greater concern during heat waves when people need to spend more time inside. A recent study found communities of color are disproportionately exposed to heat in cities across the country.

She added replacing gas infrastructure is difficult in older residential buildings, and will become a growing issue for low-income communities.

"How do we electrify those in a way that doesn't harm our low-income communities, and in fact should support them and help them through a positive transition?" Lathrop asked. "And at the end of the day, it's going to take funding."

Lathrop pointed out local governments and Washington state are moving to reduce pollution from buildings, but believes policy without funding will not be effective. She argued the transition away from the use of fuels such as natural gas in buildings needs to be under way now.

"All of our new construction should already be zero-carbon construction," Lathrop asserted. "It's easy enough to do. We have the technology, and we have the capacity to do it."


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