Landmark Environmental Justice Bill Introduced in Congress
WASHINGTON — Today the most far-reaching Congressional bill to advance environmental justice was introduced, during a time of increasing political commitment to address how communities of color and people with limited financial means bear the brunt of environmental harms.
The Environmental Justice for All Act, introduced by Chair Raúl Grijalva, Rep. Donald McEachin and Sen. Tammy Duckworth with significant community input, is a far-reaching approach to seeking environmental justice, health equity, and climate justice for underserved communities.
“If you want to see why this legislation is critically needed, look no farther than the Boxtown neighborhood in Memphis, or countless other communities throughout the South,” said Chandra Taylor, Senior Attorney and leader of SELC’s Environmental Justice Initiative. “The passage of the Environmental Justice for All Act would give all communities a direct and clear path to redress environmental injustice.”
Among its comprehensive approaches, the bill would
- 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.
“At key moments of our history, Congress has taken big and bold legislative actions to mend the tremendous wound and lasting impacts of racism in our nation, “said Taylor. “Passing this bill would be an integral part to correcting the past and ensuring the basic rights of all to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment.”
For background information on environmental justice issues currently playing out in the South:
- Byhalia Pipeline – Memphis, TN
- Metro Green Facility – South DeKalb County, GA
- ABC Coke Facility – Birmingham, AL
- CAFOs and Biogas – Eastern NC
- Biomass Facilities – Robeson County, NC
- Mega-landfill – Cumberland County, VA
- Highway 41 Expansion – Phillips Community in Charleston County, SC