Senator Booker Announces The Environmental Justice Act of 2017

On October 23rd U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) was joined by local community leaders and advocates from across New Jersey and the nation in announcing a landmark bill that represents a major step toward eliminating environmental injustice.

This Bill would strengthen protections for communities of color, low-income communities and indigenous communities.

More specifically the Bill: 

  • Codifies and expands the 1994 Executive Order on Environmental Justice.

  • Codifies the existing National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) and environmental justice grant programs.

  • Establishes requirements for federal agencies to address environmental justice.

  • Requires consideration of cumulative impacts and persistent violations in federal or state permitting decisions under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

  • Clarifies that communities impacted by events like the Flint water crisis may bring statutory claims for damages and common law claims in addition to requesting injunctive relief.

  • Reinstates a private right of action for discriminatory practices under the Civil Rights Act.

“For too long low income and communities of color in this country have suffered under the weight of cumulative, chronic and disproportionate pollution. This bill is a reminder of how critical it is to protect and restore these communities,” said Ana Baptista, Board Member, Ironbound Community Corporation.

“We must adopt substantive policies that will provide protections for communities Of Color and low-income communities from harmful pollution. This bill would help those communities and we hope everybody gives it the serious consideration it deserves,” said Dr. Nicky Sheats, Esq., New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance.

“As a Newark School Board member and a mother of 3 kids with asthma, it’s clear environmental justice is a civil right. In my city and so many other EJ communities, there’s too much lead in our drinking water, raw sewage in our waterways and diesel emissions sending kids to the ER. Those are the kind of cumulative impacts Senator Booker’s legislation takes on,” said Kim Gaddy, Clean Water Action’s Environmental Justice Organizing Director.

 

More information: https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=685

 

 

California plans to eliminate diesel exhaust black carbon within 10 years

The California Air Resources Board CARB) issued an outstanding report this week, Proposed Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy, which provides a model for the Federal government and other states to improve public health and slow climate change,

In the report, the CARB details the ground-breaking work California has done to reduce black carbon, and proposes an approach to doing even more.

Black carbon is a potent climate change forcer which kills millions of people worldwide every year.  In U.S. urban areas, diesel engine exhaust – primarily from diesel freight trucks, is the primary source of black carbon.  Diesel exhaust black carbon is particularly insidious, because it is covered by as many as 40 carcinogenic and toxic compounds, and acts as a very effective toxin delivery system. When inhaled, the black carbon particles and their toxic payload is absorbed into the bloodstream, which delivers the poisons to every organ in the body, including the brain.

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New study shows diesel exhaust air pollution lower than EPA standards damages children’s lungs

Research to be published this week shows that even low levels of particulate matter and black carbon air pollution, components of diesel exhaust, damages children’s lungs.

This Boston study shows that by age eight, children living within 100 meters of a major roadway have, on average, 6 percent lower lung function than children living 400 meters or more from the roadway – even at levels below EPA standards.

Experts believe that lung damage in young children may be irreversible.

The lead researcher of this study is Mary B. Rice, MD MPH, a pulmonary and critical care physician with a research focus on air pollution, climate change, and respiratory health at Harvard Medical School.

In an accompanying editorial, Cora S. Sack, MD, and Joel D. Kaufman, MD, MPH, of the University of Washington wrote, “These important findings are from a novel study combining modern modeling of exposures to air pollution with robust measurements of lung function, conducted in a community with pollutant levels now under EPA standards,”

We do not need to emit diesel exhaust pollution and damage children’s heath. There are cleaner alternatives. Please click the link below and sign our petition asking the EPA to protect workers and nearby residents by regulating ports, rail yards, and other freight facilities.

The study, “Lifetime Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Lung Function in Children,” will be published in the April 15 edition of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care, a journal of the American Thoracic Society.  To learn more, watch for the next issue, or check out the press release below.

Even low levels of air pollution appear to affect a child’s lungs, American Thoracic Society

Senator Booker Announces The Environmental Justice Act of 2017

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