The Environmental Justice For All Act — a bill created to fight environmental racism — passed through the congressional committee in July 2022. The act, which is the first of its kind, is considered to be monumental in the fight for intersectional environmentalism.
This act would ensure that more effort and resources would be put towards fighting for environmental justice. With its inclusion of different programs and funding, this could have a significant impact.
What does th eEnvironmental Justice For All Act include?
Best summarized by the Library of Congress, here is a more detailed idea of what the act aims to accomplish:
“This bill establishes several environmental justice requirements, advisory bodies, and programs to address the disproportionate adverse human health or environmental effects of federal laws or programs on communities of color, low-income communities, or tribal and indigenous communities.”
In order to accomplish these goals, agencies will have to comply with different requirements concerning environmental justice, such as providing impact reports and providing safer alternatives to some consumer products.
The act also includes various funding programs. In the bill summary, it gives the example of funding that would “enhance access to park and recreational opportunities in an urban areas.”
Many are excited by this bill as it has over 300 organizations supporting it and more than 100 co-sponsors.
How would it affect people?
If the Environmental Justice Act For All is signed into law, it would have a huge impact in underserved communities.
An article published by the Princeton Student Climate Initiative states: “African Americans are 75 percent more likely than White people to live in “fence-line” communities (areas near commercial facilities that produce noise, odor, traffic, or emissions that directly affect the population).”
As a result, the people that live in these communities are at a higher risk for serious health problems.
There are a few key components of the bill, that would help alleviate some the problems that marginalized communities face, according to #EnviroJusticeNow. The document highlights some very important details.
One component states that permits for projects cannot be issued unless there’s a “reasonable certainty of no harm to human health.”
Another key feature of the bill is that federal agencies are required to provide “meaningful community involvement opportunities under NEPA when proposing an action affecting an environmental justice community.”
Other highlighted components include equitable outdoor access, the transparent labeling of products with potentially harmful chemicals, and $75 million a year to implement projects that address different public health and environmental problems.
The Environmental Justice Act For All is extremely comprehensive and has the potential to have a positive impact on communities all over the country.
Here are 5 reasons why environmental justice is important:
Environmental justice isn’t something that we can ignore.
Understanding this complex topic is important because it makes sure that nobody gets left behind when addressing the climate crisis.
It ensures everyone has clean air and water. It allows people to live healthier lives. It gives marginalized communities power over decisions that directly affect them. It makes sure that individuals have a better foundation to have a successful future.