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

 

 

Environmental Health Coalition hosts Climate Change Workshop in Barrio Logan

The Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), located in the Barrio Logan community of San Diego, fights for social and environmental justice, and against environmental racism, “policies and activities of governments, corporations, educational institutions or other large organizations with the power to influence many people that, either intentionally or unintentionally, result in people of color and/or low-income people being exposed to greater environmental hazards.” This work includes several focus areas, including Toxic Free Neighborhoods and Climate Justice.

To ensure the communities they serve have a voice in State of California climate change plans, the EHC recently hosted a climate change workshop for the Environmental Justice Advisory Committee and the California Air Resources Board.  The meeting attracted over a hundred people who  talked about air pollution from the many industries located in their neighborhoods, the impact of climate change, and other topics, and provided ideas and recommendations for the draft update of the CARB Scoping Plan, which defines how California will reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020.

While welcoming the state’s intent to reduce greenhouse gases, Leticia Ayala, EHC Associate Director of the Healthy Kids Campaign noted that “there seems to be a tremendous disconnect between our state’s goals for addressing climate change and local projects that move us further from those goals, such as freeway expansions before investments in better public transit”, and emphasized that “Climate change is a global crisis, and our communities have great ideas and proposed solutions. Now, we need the resources to make things happen.”

To learn more, check out the EHC blog post, Thanks for urging the California Air Resources Boart to Protect #HealthHoods and the San Diego Free Press article linked below.

San Diegans Voice Concerns to State Officials About Air Quality, Environmental Justice, and Climate Change, San Diego Free Press