Congress takes key steps to advance Environmental Justice for All Act
WASHINGTON — Today the House Natural Resources Committee held a legislative markup and voted the Environmental Justice for All Act out of committee, a key step forward for the most comprehensive Congressional bill to advance environmental justice, health equity, and climate justice.
Sponsored by Chairman Raúl Grijalva and co-sponsored by U.S. Reps Donald McEachin and Steve Cohen, and with significant input from impacted communities and environmental justice leaders, the bill is a far-reaching approach to redress the disproportionate harm borne by communities of color and people with limited financial means.
In response, Chandra T. Taylor-Sawyer, Senior Attorney and leader of SELC’s Environmental Justice Initiative, issued the following statement:
“We applaud the strong leadership from members of the House Natural Resources Committee and Chairman Grijalva to advance the Environmental Justice for All Act today, an important action that directs agencies to follow certain environmental justice standards and dedicate new funding programs for communities who need it most. Moving this landmark legislation forward is a critical step to address environmental injustices that communities of color throughout the South and nationwide have been unduly burdened with for far too long.”
Among its comprehensive approaches, the bill proposes to:
- strengthen the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
- require consideration of cumulative impacts in permitting decisions under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act;
- work to establish more equitable access to parks and outdoor recreation;
- require meaningful community involvement, including tribal representation, under the National Environmental Policy Act; and
- provide funds to support communities and workers as they move away from polluting industries.