Today, Representatives Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice for All Act. The bill would enable frontline environmental justice communities to hold polluters accountable in court for projects that use federal funds and engage in environmental discrimination. It contains bold policies that will strengthen the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to require federal agencies to consider the cumulative and disproportionate impacts of pollution on communities of color and those of low-income and would use new fees on oil, gas, and coal companies to fund investments in environmental justice communities. The legislation is named in memory of one of the bill’s original sponsors, Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), who passed away last year.
After the bill’s reintroduction, Earthjustice Senior Legislative Counsel Ebony Griffin-Guerrier issued the following statement:
“The Environmental Justice for All Act is a bill crafted by the people and for the people who have long experienced the disproportionate impacts of exposure to toxic pollution. It’s an important step to address environmental racism and hold polluting industries accountable.
“For far too long, the burden of energy development has fallen disproportionately on communities of color and those of low-income. As Congress addresses the climate crisis and looks to rapidly build out the clean energy infrastructure of the future, this bill provides a blueprint for a better way forward that includes communities in the decision-making process from the beginning. We thank Representatives Grijalva and Lee as well as Senators Duckworth and Booker for listening to frontline communities, and we urge Congress to pass this important legislation. I can’t think of a better way to honor an incredible advocate like Rep. McEachin than codifying his namesake legislation, rectifying the environmental injustices of the past, and preventing future environmental harms.”
The A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice for All Act enjoys the support of numerous environmental, social justice, and Indigenous organizations. In anticipation of the bill’s introduction, over 120 organizations sent a letter to Members of Congress calling for its swift passage.