Washington (March 22, 2023)—Today, Reps. Raul Grijalva and Barbara Lee and Sens. Cory Booker and Tammy Duckworth introduced the A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice for All Act. The bill is named for Rep. McEachin, a longtime champion for environmental justice, who passed away last year. The bill would give historically marginalized communities more power to fight the disproportionate harms from pollution that they face and direct the federal government to center environmental justice in policymaking. If passed, it would be a powerful tool to fight long-standing environmental racism and promote public health, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Below is a statement by Johanna Chao Kreilick, president of UCS.
“In solidarity with environmental justice leaders, the Union of Concerned Scientists is proud to support this historic bill, which addresses head-on the long-standing and unjust harms from environmental pollution in Black, Brown, Indigenous and low-income communities across our nation.
“This bill is a model in both substance and in the inclusive process that led to its creation. It was drafted in consultation with and includes the perspectives of environmental justice groups across the country—the people who best know their communities, the risks that they face and the solutions they urgently need.
“If passed into law, it would deliver real benefits: strengthening civil rights protections, improving community involvement in environmental policymaking, supporting a just transition away from fossil fuels, and funding new research and programs to address environmental and public health challenges. It would require federal agencies to consider the cumulative impact of new projects in permitting decisions, rather than evaluating those projects in a vacuum. And it has real teeth, with strong enforcement provisions to ensure that polluters who harm environmental justice communities are held accountable.
“This bill would give people facing environmental racism the tools they need to advocate for their own health and safety.
“It’s a fitting tribute that this bill has been named in honor of the late Congressman McEachin, a consistent champion of environmental justice. Congress should honor his legacy by passing this important bill.”