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Landmark House Legislation Centers Environmental Justice Concerns

Bill developed through years-long process led by communities on the front lines of environmental degradation
Residents of west Oakland, Calif., rallied against a coal export facility in 2016.

Residents of West Oakland, Calif., rallied against a coal export facility in 2016. For decades, the City and Port of Oakland issued approvals to expand polluting freight activities in the area, while ignoring input from the community. West Oakland residents to suffer from diesel emissions that are up to 90 times higher than the state's average.

Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice
February 27, 2020
Washington, D.C. —

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) introduced the Environmental Justice for All Act, landmark legislation to combat environmental racism and disparate impacts affecting frontline communities nationwide.

The following is a statement from Martin Hayden, Vice President of Policy and Legislation at Earthjustice:

“We cannot confront the legacy of environmental racism in the United States unless we listen to the voices of the people most harmed by it. If we do, however, we can ensure that everyone has the right to drink clean water, breathe clean air, and live without fear of the poisonous effects of toxic chemicals.

“We commend Chairman Grijalva and Representative McEachin for the proposal they released today and the landmark process they used to create it. It represents a bold and necessary shift in the way we create federal environmental policy — it is the result of a serious and years-long effort to put the expertise and concerns of the people experiencing the worst of pollution and climate change first. Earthjustice commends all of the environmental justice advocates who contributed to this legislation and looks forward to similar efforts in the future.”

Background on the Environmental Justice for All Act:

The Environmental Justice for All Act creates a Federal Energy Transition Economic Development Assistance Fund — paid for by new fees on oil, gas and coal companies — to support communities and workers as they transition away from greenhouse gas-dependent economies. The bill expands legal rights for underserved communities and creates new federal grants and program authority to address environmental racism and disparate impacts nationwide.

Contacts

Phil LaRue, Earthjustice, (202) 797-4317

We're the lawyers for the environment, and the law is on our side.