Letter to Congress: Support The Environmental Justice For All Act

February 14, 2022

The Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021), introduced by Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Representative Donald McEachin, (D-VA)  is a long overdue package of reforms that will help address the history of environmental injustice that has led to undue burdens of pollution on people of color and low-income communities. Clean Water Action has submitted the following letter to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee in support of this legislation.

February 14, 2022

The Honorable Raul Grijalva
Chairman
Natural Resources Committee
United States House of Representatives

The Honorable Bruce Westerman
Ranking Member
Natural Resources Committee
United States House of Representatives


Dear Chairman Grijalva and Ranking Member Westerman:

Clean Water Action strongly supports the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021). This bill will help begin remedying the long history of environmental racism and injustice in our communities. It will also begin to remedy cumulative and disproportionate health and environmental impacts that affect communities of color, low-income communities, and Native/Indigenous nations and communities across the country.

The legislation is aligned with our mission and values, which are to protect our environment, health, economic well-being and community quality of life. Clean Water Action organizes strong grassroots groups and coalitions, to solve environmental and community problems such as those included in the Environmental Justice for All Act. Comprehensive environmental justice solutions serve not only to benefit directly impacted communities, but also to improve social and environmental livelihoods for all. We strongly support the Act’s central elements, which are important steps toward remedying a long legacy of harm, and ensuring the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people - regardless of color, culture, national origin, or income - with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of health and environmental laws, regulations, and policies. These urgently needed policy improvements include:

•    Requiring federal agencies to consider cumulative health impacts under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act in making permitting decisions
•    Codifying and bolstering President Clinton’s 1994 Executive Order by directing federal agencies to develop environmental justice strategies and regularly report on implementation and progress.
•    Ensuring that federal agencies consequentially include diverse communities in public health research, data collection, and analysis.
•    Strengthening the National Environmental Policy Act to ensure that communities have a meaningful opportunity to engage in NEPA processes that will impact them.
•    Strengthening the Civil Rights Act to permit private citizens and organizations facing discrimination to seek legal remedies;
•    Creating an energy transition economic development assistance fund – paid for through new fees on oil, gas and coal companies – to support communities and workers as they transition away from greenhouse gas-dependent economies;

The Environmental Justice for All Act is a long overdue correction to the disproportionate harms that have been experienced by communities of color, low-income communities, and Native/Indigenous communities. We urge the Committee, and any other committees with jurisdiction, to begin to correct these injustices and address this legacy of harm by promptly passing the bill out of Committee and sending it on to the full House of Representatives.

Respectfully ,

Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director
Jennifer Peters, National Water Programs Director
Kim Gaddy, National Environmental Justice Director
Sean Jackson, National Campaigns Coordinator
Thea Louis, National Water Projects Coordinator

 

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