Livestreams Next Week: DOI Diversity Hearing on Thursday, Environmental Justice for All Act Events on Thursday and Friday

Washington, D.C. – The Natural Resources Committee is holding three livestreamed events next week.


Thursday, Sept. 17

The Committee is hosting two events on Sept. 17.

Environmental Justice Forum

Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) will lead a livestreamed forum titled Environmental Justice Now Tour: Louisiana – Cancer Alley as part of his ongoing initiative with Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) to highlight the community impacts of environmental damage and build support for their Environmental Justice for All Act. The bill continues to gather momentum, with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) introducing a Senate companion bill on July 30.

Thursday’s speakers include:

  • Sharon Lavigne, Director, RISE St. James
  • Asti Davis, Climate Justice Network Engagement Manager, Foundation for Louisiana
  • Dr. Beverly L. Wright, Executive Director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice

The event will focus on Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley,” an 85-mile stretch along the Mississippi river that connects Baton Rouge to New Orleans, where the EPA has found seven out of the 10 U.S census tracts with the highest cancer rates in the country due to the cumulative pollution from 150 chemical plants and refineries in the area.

Formosa Plastics Corp. is planning to build a new facility in the area, and on July 14th, the Center for Biological Diversity – on behalf of RISE St. James – filed for a preliminary injunction to block construction. Work there has been halted while court proceedings continue but is expected to continue in February of 2021.

The Environmental Justice for All Act requires the federal government to take action to address cumulative impacts and would give Cancer Alley residents a powerful tool to protect their health and environmental quality.

When: 12:00 p.m. Eastern time

Watch Live: https://bit.ly/2ZvVL4N (Facebook) or https://youtu.be/0d43E78oODc (YouTube)

Hearing on Diversity at DOI

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, led by Chair TJ Cox (D-Calif.), will hold a formal hearing titled Examining the Barriers and Solutions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Department of the Interior. The event will examine current and historical barriers for the hiring, retention, and promotion of people of diverse backgrounds at the Department of the Interior (DOI) and its bureaus and agencies.

Witnesses will discuss their own experiences as well as the importance of and best practices for increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Department.

Thursday’s speakers include:

  • Whitney Tome, Principal and Head of Beyond Diversity Strategies, The Raben Group
  • Sändra Washington, Board of Trustees, Secretary, National Parks Conservation Association
  • Dr. Dorceta E. Taylor, Professor, Yale School of Environmental Studies

Scott Cameron, DOI’s acting assistant secretary for policy, management and budget, declined a request to testify.

When: 2:00 p.m. Eastern time

Watch Live: https://bit.ly/3bMHOoa (Facebook) or https://youtu.be/e8cLoXCS6vY (YouTube)

Friday, Sept. 17

On Friday, Sept. 17, Chair Grijalva will lead a livestreamed forum titled Environmental Justice Now Tour: Los Angeles. The event, part of the ongoing campaign to build support for his and Rep. McEachin’s Environmental Justice for All Act, will examine a variety of environmental justice issues and feature a discussion of how the bill would improve quality of life for more than 13 million Americans living in the Los Angeles metro area.

Friday’s speakers include:

  • Yvette Lopez-Ledesma, Urban to Wild Director, The Wilderness Society
  • Megan Chichester, Black Maternal Health Coordinator, Black Women for Wellness
  • Mark Lopez, Co-Director, East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice

Los Angeles has the worst ozone pollution of any metropolitan area in the United States, according to the American Lung Association. Within a 20-mile stretch, communities such as Bell, Compton, Huntington Park, Lynwood, and South Gate are wedged between major highways, downtown Los Angeles, and the port of Long Beach. The population of this region is 98 percent people of color, with 78 percent of households living below the federal poverty line. The EPA environmental justice screen places the area in the 100th percentile of pollution exposure.

When: 12:00 p.m. Eastern time

Watch Live: https://bit.ly/33iTMBX (Facebook) or https://youtu.be/K1K4FxJXeWs (YouTube)

Press Contact

Media Contact: Adam Sarvana

(202) 225-6065 or (202) 578-6626 mobile