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March 18, 2021

Environmental Justice for All Act Introduced on Capitol Hill

The bill strengthens protections against environmental discrimination and pollution burdens

Contacts

Raul Garcia, Earthjustice, (202) 667-4500, ext. 5251

Washington, D.C.

Today, Earthjustice stands with environmental justice leaders from all over the country in celebrating the introduction of the Environmental Justice for All Act.

This bill offers a series of concrete measures aimed to address environmental injustice. It is the culmination of years of research and fact gathering as well as a robust and inclusive process spearheaded by environmental justice leaders who represent some of the very communities this bill is meant to support. If passed and enforced properly, it would significantly strengthen environmental protection for communities that face disproportionate pollution burdens.

“We stand with communities of color across the country for this critical step in the struggle for environmental justice. This bill is a testament to their power and experience. We also commend Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) and their staff for crafting this bill through one of the most inclusive and diverse processes we have seen in recent years. This bill, which reflects the voices of those most impacted by environmental racism, will lead to much greater equity and justice by protecting communities of color that are burdened with the highest levels of pollution,” said Raul Garcia, Legislative Director of Healthy Communities at Earthjutice.

Among other improvements, the bill would:

  • Enable residents or groups to sue in court for projects that use federal funds or resources and engage in environmental discrimination.
  • Strengthen the National Environmental Policy Act, requiring federal agencies to consider the views of Black, brown and indigenous communities impacted by disproportionate pollution when permitting decisions are being made for new projects.
  • Create a fund using new fees on oil, gas and coal industries to aid communities that are transitioning from greenhouse-gas dependent industries.
  • Direct federal agencies to create a working group on environmental justice compliance and enforcement and develop environmental justice strategies and annually report on implementation.
  • Require federal agencies to seek Tribal government input in the NEPA process, and to ensure that Indian Tribes be invited to serve as cooperating agencies for proposed actions that might impact their reservation lands and sacred sites.
  • Codify an existing grant program to ensure more equitable access to parks and recreational opportunities, prioritizing projects and recreational opportunities that benefit underserved urban communities.

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.