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September 20, 2022

Earthjustice Joins 17 Groups in New Ocean Justice Forum Platform

New national initiative centers equity in ocean policy

Contacts

Julie Hauserman, Earthjustice, jhauserman@earthjustice.org

Washington, D.C.

Today, as a member of the Ocean Justice Forum, Earthjustice joins 17 other grassroots and national nonprofit organizations from across the U.S. to unveil the Ocean Justice Platform. The platform is a groundbreaking, forward-looking, consensus-based policy proposal that envisions what a just ocean future should look like in coastal communities across the country.

“Coastal communities are battling pollution, industrial fishing, habitat loss, and development. We know that Black, Indigenous, and people of color along the coasts are disproportionally impacted by rising sea levels, intensifying storms and pollution from industry,” said Drew Caputo, Earthjustice’s Vice President of Litigation for Lands, Wildlife & Oceans. “We’re glad to be part of this new coalition that puts community concerns at the center of ocean policy.”

The platform establishes what is needed to confront deep-rooted inequity and sets clear principles and policy priorities to guide policymakers’ approach to just and equitable ocean policy:

  • Protect the ocean and the benefits it provides for all: A healthy ocean provides communities with economic opportunities, recreation, cultural and spiritual practices, and more. Policies to protect and restore ocean health through 30x30 and other efforts must include the perspectives of ocean justice communities and provide equitable access to healthy coastlines.
  • Alleviate the disproportionate burden of pollution on ocean justice communities: Pollution from fossil fuels, agricultural runoff, plastics, and more disproportionately affect ocean justice communities. Policy makers must hold polluting industries accountable while also reducing and removing pollutants.
  • Promote an economy that sustains the ocean and communities that rely on it: A just ocean economy must prioritize people over corporations and uplift communities with family-sustaining jobs. It’s on policymakers to include communities in decision making and ensure they can support their historic and traditional ways of life.
  • Uplift justly-sourced renewable energy from the ocean: The ocean has more to offer than damaging fossil fuels. It’s time to stop taxpayer support of offshore oil and gas that has harmed ocean justice communities, eliminate port emissions, and transition to justly sourced renewable energy.
  • Prioritize community social cohesion in disaster response and adaptation investments: For too long, ocean justice communities have not had adequate support from the federal government as they face rising tides and stronger storms. Policymakers must strengthen planning, provide resources to minimize expected impacts, and increase investments in emergency response to help communities recover so that they have the resources and support necessary to make their own short and long-term decisions.

Definition of Ocean Justice

Ocean Justice exists at the intersection of social inclusion, ocean stewardship and justice. It harnesses a power shift advancing the voices, full participation and leadership of historically excluded Peoples and Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) communities in ocean decision-making, ensures meaningful and equitable engagement of all communities, and delivers equal access to healthy and prospering shorelines and oceans for all.

The Ocean Justice Forum

The Ocean Justice Forum (OJF) is an initiative co-led by Azul, Center for American Progress, Taproot Earth, and Urban Ocean Lab. The Ocean Justice Forum convened leaders from 18 environmental justice, community, Indigenous, and national nonprofit organizations to develop a consensus-based federal ocean policy platform that promotes racial, climate, environmental, and economic justice. Learn more about the Ocean Justice Forum.

Additional Resources

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.