Big Oil touts that it helps people of color. This LA times investigation proves otherwise.

smoke stacks seen, pollution

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The fossil fuel industry is continuing its efforts to claim it helps communities of color despite the fact that pollution from its activities disproportionately harm these groups, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times found.

One group, Western States and Tribal Nations, presents itself as a grassroots organization that supports “tribal self-determination” by backing natural gas projects, but in reality the group only has one tribal member — the main financial backers are  energy companies or county governments, including natural gas companies who have a financial stake in the projects the group supports.

Another group, United Latinos Vote, cropped up earlier this year to push back on California’s efforts to phase out gas appliances and gas-powered vehicles. The organization claims that these efforts would disproportionately harm communities of color, but local groups fighting for environmental justice spoke out on Twitter, saying this does not represent how their communities feel.

Public polling finds that Latinos and Black people are “more likely to be concerned about climate change than white people.” The organization’s founder won’t say who is funding the group, but two major oil and gas companies recently donated to its political action committee.

Gladys Limón, executive director of the California Environmental Justice Alliance, described United Latinos Votes as an “industry interest group that describes itself as equity-based and cloaks itself by stealing the racial justice language of the movement” and said “the fossil fuel-based economy is hurting our health.”

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