Air and water should nourish us, not poison us.
Yet polluting industries have shaped our laws and their enforcement in ways that allow them to keep dirtying our skies and waterways.
This pollution is concentrated in communities already burdened by racism and classism.
Here are some of the ways we’re addressing these injustices:
- Fight for better air quality by taking the government to court when it fails to uphold the Clean Air Act, the federal law that regulates air pollution.
- Fight for safe drinking water by taking the government to court when it fails to uphold the Clean Water Act, the federal law that regulates water quality.
- Compel the government to enforce protections for rivers, streams, wetlands, and other waters, and we defend those protections from political attacks.
- Force fossil fuel plants to limit their pollution by guarding against industry attacks on federal mercury and air toxics regulations, which save up to 11,000 lives per year.
- Protect air and water from coal ash by advocating for — and enforcing — rules that ensure this toxic byproduct of burning coal is disposed of safely.
- Clear skies and lungs of smog by challenging insufficiently protective federal regulations.
- Keep lead out of homes, schools, daycares, and workplaces by challenging inadequate protections that allow dangerous amounts of lead in paint, soil, pipes, and fuel.
Even though Congress banned the installation of lead pipes in 1986, water to tens of millions of people is still delivered through lead service lines. How you can help.
The fight for clean water and air connects to many other aspects of environmental justice.
By reducing smog and other emissions that poison our lungs, we also limit climate change. By ensuring that rivers and streams remain drinkable and swimmable, we protect the habitats of endangered species.
And by partnering with community groups in the places most harmed by air and water pollution, we broaden the environmental movement.
Our key strategies:
- We push for robust pollution monitoring. We need to know the true extent of air and water pollution in overburdened communities to support them in their fight for justice.
- We drive the government to address the full, cumulative impact of all forms of pollution. With pollutants like lead, people can be exposed via many different sources at once. We use litigation and advocacy to make sure the government regulates total exposure, not just one source at a time.
- Once strong regulations are in place, we make sure agencies enforce them. We go to court to ensure the government follows through on its commitment to hold polluters accountable.
Learn more about this work through our Community Partnerships Program, International Program, Toxic Exposure & Health Program, Washington, D.C., Office, and Policy and Legislation Team, our regionally-based work in the California Office, Northwest Office, Rocky Mountain Office, and more.