First-Ever Full Committee Markup of the Environmental Justice For All Act This Wednesday, July 27

Washington, D.C. – This Wednesday, July 27 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time, H.R. 2021, the Environmental Justice For All Act, will go before the full House Natural Resources Committee for markup for the first time in the bill’s legislative history. The livestream of the markup will be available here: https://youtu.be/-0PPYEY33PE

A short video about the bill is available here: https://bit.ly/3PP0LJw

A fact sheet on the bill is available here: https://bit.ly/3PRmhNH

Una hoja informativa del proyecto se encuentra aquí: https://bit.ly/3OAeItY

The Environmental Justice For All Act, introduced by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) on March 18, 2021, is the most comprehensive piece of environmental justice legislation in history. The bill was drafted through a years-long inclusive, transparent, and community-led process based on public input. A previous Natural Resources Democrats Medium post detailing the historic process for crafting the Environmental Justice For All Act is available at https://bit.ly/3HSlSHc.


2022 Community Input Tour for the Environmental Justice For All Act

After a full Committee legislative hearing on the bill this past February, Chair Grijalva kicked off a Community Input Tour for the Environmental Justice For All Act in New York City with House Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.). Over the months that followed, Chair Grijalva, Rep. McEachin, and other members of Congress traveled to environmental justice communities all over the country to see firsthand the ongoing environmental injustices in these areas and to hear about community leaders’ efforts to address those injustices.

During each stop of the Community Input Tour, Chair Grijalva and Rep. McEachin facilitated a public input forum to obtain formal feedback on the Environmental Justice For All Act, which was later transcribed and incorporated into final changes on the bill. Community members could also submit their feedback online via the Committee’s innovative use of a virtual input tool called Popvox.

The full list of locations for the Community Input Tour, as well as links to pictures from the visits, is provided below: 

The following quotes about the Environmental Justice For All Act were obtained from community members and environmental justice leaders during the 2022 Community Input Tour.

“One of the things that I like about EJ [Environmental Justice] For All is that it centers community engagement in a meaningful way and understands that communities have to be partners in governance, that it embraces this idea of co-governance — not threatened by community leadership but sees that the community has access to a brain trust that actually amplifies the work of any elected official.” – Elizabeth Yeampierre, UPROSE, New York City Community Input Tour

“What we’ve learned about issues around environmental justice is that it’s gonna take an act of Congress to change the circumstances. For those of us who have been living in communities like Detroit for years, for decades, have been doing the fight to try to win at the local level. But it’s really a beast that we can’t conquer alone. We have to have the federal government participating in this with us.” – Sylvia Orduño, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and People’s Water Board Coalition, Detroit Community Input Tour

“The Environmental Justice for All Act will help communities protect their wellbeing and, in some cases, correct environmental injustices against them. It is time that the natural resource of our people ceases to be sacrificed in the name of reckless corporate profits.” – Brian Davis, Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, “Cancer Alley,” Louisiana Community Input Tour

“I have heard many times from residents that although they have two jobs, they still have to choose between paying rent and paying for the medicine for their children who have asthma…We need stronger laws that look at cumulative impacts… and do more than just review projects, and actually protect people from those projects.” – Brenda Huerta Soto, The People’s Collective for Environmental Justice, Southern California Community Input Tour


Support for the Environmental Justice For All Act

Currently, the Environmental Justice For All Act has 99 cosponsors in the House and is endorsed by the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC). On March 18, 2021, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced the Senate version of the Environmental Justice For All Act.

The bill has also received letters of support from over 200 organizations, ranging from grassroots environmental justice and public health groups to leading national environmental organizations.


Background on the Environmental Justice For All Act

The Environmental Justice For All Act is rooted in the moral principle that all people have the right to pure air, clean water, and an environment that enriches life. Across the country, environmental justice communities—including communities of color, Tribal and Indigenous communities, and low-income communities—have been disproportionately burdened by environmental hazards that harm human health, including greater exposure to polluted air, water, and landscapes. These same communities are often on the frontlines of climate change as well.

Many of these inequities stem from the fossil fuel and other polluting industries’ long history of intentionally building infrastructure, including oil wells, pipelines, refineries, and power plants, in environmental justice communities.

The central provisions of the Environmental Justice For All Act include the following, among others

  • Require consideration of cumulative impacts of pollution. Federal agencies will need to consider the cumulative impacts of pollution in a given area when making permitting decisions under the Clean Water Act or Clean Air Act. No permit will be issued if the project cannot demonstrate a reasonable certainty of no harm to human health after consideration of cumulative impacts.
  • Amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Supreme Court decision in Alexander v. Sandoval will be overturned so that private citizens, residents, and organizations may  legally challenge discrimination—including environmental discrimination—prohibited under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Strengthen the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Federal agencies will be required to provide early and meaningful community input opportunities under NEPA when proposing an action affecting an environmental justice community. Agencies will also be required to ensure robust tribal representation throughout the NEPA process for an activity that could impact a tribe, including activities impacting off-reservation lands and sacred sites.

Press Contact

Media Contact: Lindsay Gressard

202-225-6065 | cell: 202-740-4715