In response to the House Natural Resources Committee hearing today on the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021), Equitable and Just National Climate Platform, a coalition of environmental justice and national environmental groups, released the following statement:
“We offer our strong support for the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021) and urge House Natural Resources Committee members to confront the legacy of environmental racism in the United States by advancing this important legislation. High concentrations of toxic pollution, persistent and systematic racial discrimination, and lack of access to economic opportunities, have created disproportionately high environmental and public health risks in communities of color and low-income communities. We must confront environmental racism head-on by prioritizing solutions that reduce pollution in environmental justice communities at a scale needed to significantly improve public health and quality of life. We urge lawmakers to develop equitable policies that reduce toxic pollution in all its forms.
“We commend the environmental justice advocates who contributed to this legislation along with Chair Grijalva and Representative McEachin, who led the community-driven process to incorporate the needs and perspectives of environmental justice communities into this Act.”
Witnesses for the hearing include Dr. Nicky Sheats, director of the Center for the Urban Environment at Kean University’s John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research, a founding member of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, and a co-author and inaugural signatory of the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform. Read Dr. Nicky Sheats’s testimony.
The Act contains the following:
- Requires consideration of cumulative impacts in permitting decisions under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
- Codifies President Clinton’s 1994 Executive Order 12898 by directing federal agencies to develop environmental justice strategies and regularly report on implementation and progress.
- Requires federal agencies to provide community involvement opportunities under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when proposing an action affecting an environmental justice community.
- Requires Tribal representation throughout the NEPA process for an activity that could impact an Indian Tribe, including activities impacting off-reservation lands and sacred sites.
- Amends Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Funds research grant programs to investigate personal and childcare products containing chemicals linked to adverse health impacts.
- Supports access to parks and recreational opportunities, prioritizing projects and recreational opportunities that benefit underserved urban communities.
- Authorizes $75 million annually for grants to support research, education, outreach, development, and implementation of projects to address environmental and public health issues in environmental justice communities.
- Establishes a Federal Energy Transition Economic Development Assistance Fund using revenues from new fees on the oil, gas, and coal industries to support communities and workers as they transition away from greenhouse gas-dependent economies.
The Equitable & Just National Climate Platform celebrated its two-year anniversary on July 17, 2021. In 2019, signatories to the platform achieved consensus on a historic plan calling for national climate action that confronts racial, economic, and environmental injustice as it enacts deep cuts in climate pollution and accelerates a pollution-free energy future that benefits all communities. The co-authors included leaders from a dozen environmental justice organizations and six national environmental groups. Learn more about the Equitable & Just National Climate Platform.