Families on the front lines of mining, drilling, and fracking need your help. Support them now!

Media Contact:

Rebekah Staub, Permian-Gulf Communications Manager, rstaub@earthworks.org

A letter signed by 184 health professionals including doctors, nurses, licensed psychologists, and environmental health experts was sent to President Biden, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Maritime Administration Admiral Ann Phillips today, calling on the administration to deny the application for Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT) and other new oil and gas export facilities in the Gulf Coast that would harm the health of residents and further fuel the climate crisis. 

“As nurses, we see the proof everyday that clean air is a critical component of healthy and safe communities and with better air quality we have an amazing opportunity to reduce or prevent diseases,” said Katie Huffling, Executive Director of Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. “The Sea Port Oil Terminal will increase harmful ozone pollution that contributes to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Preventing the air pollution that would come from fossil fuel projects like SPOT is a necessary action and a responsibility of this administration to ensure human health and the well-being of communities.”

Health professionals highlighted how climate change threatens health and that communities living alongside toxic polluting facilities have higher rates of diseases including cancer and asthma. The letter raises concerns about six proposed deepwater ports in the Gulf Coast that would be connected to onshore pipelines and storage tanks sited in lower income, African American and Hispanic communities.  If these projects are approved, residents would experience increased air pollutants like volatile organic compounds and benzene, a known carcinogen, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which contribute to harmful ozone and smog. Exposure to ground-level ozone can cause asthma and is linked to increased emergency room visits, hospital admissions, and premature death. 

“The human and environmental cost to the United States in the form of medical bills, disability, premature deaths, on top of destruction of wildlife and ecosystems is far higher than any profit to be gained by exploiting fossil fuels. These applications make no sense in a climate emergency (that is) disabling and killing Americans,” said nurse scientist Daphne E Chakurian, PhD(c), RN, PHN, CCM. “As nurses, we see the toll on our patients’ health and must advocate based on our scientific knowledge of human health.”

“Fossil fuel emissions common to facilities like the proposed Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT) and Texas GulfLink can contribute to higher rates of cognitive and behavioral impairment, lung and heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions impacting all domains of function and resulting in blatant occupational (or meaningful activity) disruption and injustice – more so for children than any other age group,” said Katherine Hahn, an Occupational Therapist from Houston. “Several reports, including Dr. Frederica Perera’s extensive work highlights evidence that fossil fuel combustion by-products are the world’s most significant threat to children’s health and future, and that young children are likely to suffer the most from both immediate and long-term effects.”