FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 18, 2022
Contact: Catalina V. Rogers, Humanity Communications Collective, firstname.lastname@example.org, 571-488-5020
WASHINGTON – Continuing their commitment to ensuring the passage of strong and equal environmental protections for all Americans, WE ACT for Environmental Justice launched an ambitious digital advocacy campaign to educate communities and garner support for the Environmental Justice for All Act in advance of the 118th United States Congress. The $50,000 campaign targets communities of color and areas of low income in districts represented by the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Energy and Commerce Committee members, among others. These legislators also represent constituents of the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum – a network of 50 environmental justice advocates representing 22 states that WE ACT convenes.
“All people have the right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment, but for too many, these rights are still unrealized,” said Peggy Shepard, Executive Director and Co-Founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “Our investment in elevating this bill and the historic changes it can yield mirrors our hope for its advancement. Comprehensive environmental justice legislation will provide a long overdue correction of legacy harms and marginalizing actions associated with biased environmental and public health decisions.”
EJ for All is led by Congressman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ-03), who currently serves as Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, and Congressman Donald McEachin (D-VA-04). Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) leads the companion Senate bill. EJ for All was developed using a community-driven process and became a central recommendation in the push for equitable permitting reform in the wake of Senator Joe Manchin’s “dirty side deal,” which threatens to weaken the National Environmental Policy Act permanently. This week, more than 60 members of the environmental justice movement and 70 climate and allied environmental organizations asked President Biden to uplift EJ for All when providing input on permitting to quickly deploy clean energy projects funded through the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Five key features of EJ for All are:
- Cumulative Impacts – Requires consideration of cumulative impacts in permitting decisions under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act and ensures that permits will not be issued if the project cannot demonstrate a reasonable certainty of no harm to human health.
- Executive Order 12898 – Codifies and bolsters President Clinton’s 1994 Executive Order by directing federal agencies to develop environmental justice strategies and regularly report on implementation and progress. It also ensures that federal agencies include diverse communities in public health research, data collection, and analysis.
- National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) – Requires federal agencies to provide early and meaningful community involvement opportunities under NEPA when proposing an action affecting an environmental justice community. Ensures robust Tribal representation throughout the NEPA process for an activity that could impact an Indian Tribe, including activities impacting off-reservation lands and sacred sites.
- Fair and Just Transition – 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.
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Strengthens Title VI to prohibit discrimination based on disparate impact, so individuals and communities have legal grounds to protect themselves
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WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Northern Manhattan membership-based organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low-income residents participate meaningfully in creating sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT has offices in New York and Washington, D.C. Visit us at weact.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.