Natural Resources Committee to Hold Pivotal Legislative Hearing on Environmental Justice For All Act Tomorrow

Washington, D.C. – The House Natural Resources Committee will convene the full Committee for a legislative hearing on the Environmental Justice For All Act tomorrow, Feb. 15 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. The livestream of the hearing can be viewed at https://youtu.be/76buBAaCN9E

Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) introduced the Environmental Justice For All Act on March 18, 2021 after a years-long inclusive, transparent, and community-led process to draft comprehensive environmental justice legislation based on public input. These efforts are detailed in a new Natural Resources Committee Medium post available at https://bit.ly/3HSlSHc.

Tomorrow’s legislative hearing will highlight key provisions of the bill and feature expert testimony from the following witnesses:

  • Laura Cortez, Co-Executive Director of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice. Ms. Cortez will discuss the actions hers and other communities overburdened by pollution are taking to fight for environmental justice, and how the Environmental Justice For All Act can directly benefit communities.
  • Dr. Nicky Sheats, Director of the Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research at Kean University and founding member of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance. Dr. Sheats will discuss the effect of cumulative impacts of pollution on communities of color and low income communities, and how the Environmental Justice For All Act sets a limit on cumulative impact pollution to protect human health.
  • Ms. Amy Laura Cahn, Visiting Professor and Director, Environmental Justice Clinic at Vermont Law School. Ms. Cahn will discuss how the unjust distribution of environmental burdens is created and perpetuated by gaps in our legal system and civil rights enforcement, and how the Environmental Justice For All Act can transform how we address environmental racism.
  • The Honorable Harry K. Brower Jr., Mayor of North Slope Borough, Alaska. Mayor Brower is the minority witness.

The Environmental Justice For All Act is rooted in the core belief 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.

Much 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 Environmental Justice for All Act will strengthen environmental compliance standards and enforcement tools and promote more equitable access to environmental amenities that help make communities vibrant and healthy places to live.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) introduced a Senate companion bill to the Environmental Justice For All Act on March 18, 2021.

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