June 30, 2020

June 30, 2020
Contact: Ben Schneider, bschneider@edf.org, 202-572-3279

House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Report Will Help Center Environmental Justice in America
Statement from Defend Our Future

“The fight against climate change and toxic pollution is inextricably tied to the fight for racial justice. That’s why we are thrilled the Select Committee on Climate Change has made an explicit call to “invest in overburdened communities to cut pollution and advance environmental justice,” as one of the pillars in their new report.

“There is a clear moral imperative for environmental justice to be at the center of the federal government’s plans to promote economic recovery from the COVID pandemic. Communities of color are on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and are far more likely to be exposed to air and water pollution. With Congress now considering sweeping measures that will shape the country’s economic recovery, there is a real chance for our elected leaders to face these gross injustices head on, and do something about them.

“The SCCC report makes excellent recommendations for our elected leaders to follow, and Defend Our Future supports all of the pillars included. But we want to draw attention in particular to their Environmental Justice pillar. There, the committee calls for:

· EPA to consider the pollution impacts of industrial sites on communities of color; and
· To prioritize communities of color for new clean energy and infrastructure spending projects.

“Defend Our Future emphatically supports these recommendations. And we want BIPOC leaders around the country to be included in the decision-making process for where and when these spending projects are developed.

“We have an extremely long way to go, but this report is just one sign of hope that momentum may finally be building in this country for true environmental justice. The infrastructure bill being considered in the House this week, for example, includes an amendment calling for $22.5 billion over 5 years for full lead service line replacement that prioritizes low-income and communities of color.

“It’s up to all of us, including our elected leaders, to make sure the momentum keeps building. It’s the only way we’ll get a 100% clean future for 100% of us.

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