The nation’s largest online Latino organizing group, Presente.org, is joining the fight to oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline today, on the grounds that the project would disproportionately impact Latino communities- both by exacerbating climate change and by poisoning the largely Latino communities that live near refineries for tar sands in Houston, TX.

“We are calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline,” said Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org. “Latino communities in America are concentrated in the areas most affected by climate change— from the drought stricken Southwest to coastal cities like Miami which are most threatened by rising sea levels. Additionally, refineries that would process Keystone XL’s tar sands are concentrated in Latino communities in Texas— sickening our children and families with their toxic pollution. We are not willing to sacrifice our health, climate, and safety for the sake of Big Oil profits. We urge the President to keep his promise to address climate change and start building a clean energy economy— and the first step to doing that is rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline.”

Presente.org recently polled their more than 300,000 members across the country and found that environmental justice and climate change were second only to immigration in importance to their members. Formal polls of the Latino community across the country also reflect that— and that they also are most supportive of using government funds to combat climate change. In addition, because fossil fuel infrastructure, like refineries for oil, are centered in largely low income communities of color, Latinos have disproportionately suffered from asthma, cancer, and other pollution related illnesses stemming from America’s dependence on fossil fuels. For these reasons, Presente.org has decided to make environmental justice and the fight against climate change a central priority in the coming year.

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With more than 300,000 members, Presente is a major national organization dedicated to amplifying the political voices of Latino communities in the United States.

NRDC poll on Latino communities’ opinions on climate change: http://docs.nrdc.org/globalwarming/files/glo_14012301a.pdf