Support the Environmental Justice Legacy Pollution Cleanup Act - Waterkeeper

Support the Environmental Justice Legacy Pollution Cleanup Act

By: Thomas Hynes

The Environmental Justice Legacy Pollution Cleanup Act is proposed legislation from Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative A. Donald McEachin (VA-04). The Act would invest $200 billion to help rectify the decades of legacy pollution that have disproportionately impacted the health and wellbeing of low-income communities, communities of color, and Indigenous communities.

By helping to correct these injustices, Congress has the opportunity to ensure a cleaner, healthier, and more equitable future for all Americans. Join us in contacting your Members of Congress in support of this historic legislation. 

Pollution does not impact all Americans in the same way. Frontline communities all too often bear the brunt of elevated air pollution, contaminated drinking water, and dangerous pollution from toxic waste sites. A study released in 2018 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that African Americans are 54 percent more likely to live near heavy air pollution than the general public, and low-income communities are 35 percent more likely. Further studies show that one in eight Native Americans lacks reliable access to water, and Black children are nearly three times more likely than white children to have unsafe blood lead levels.

Tragically, there are countless more examples of why this legislation is so urgently needed. In predominantly Black Louisiana communities, oil refineries along the Mississippi River have earned that stretch of land the unfortunate nickname Cancer Alley. The lead pipes in Flint, Michigan endanger countless residents and continue to be a national disgrace. And along the Cross Bronx Expressway in New York City, elevated asthma rates actually reduce the life expectancy of those who live near the highway. 

It is time to start righting these many wrongs by passing the Environmental Justice Legacy Pollution Cleanup Act.

The Act will fund cleanup efforts in the most dangerous and unhealthy toxic sites across the country, including Superfund sites, abandoned coal mines, Brownfields, and formerly used Defense sites. It also will help reduce air pollution by funding a transition away from diesel-powered vehicles and provide greatly needed funds to upgrade sanitation and water infrastructure. 

If passed, the Environmental Justice Legacy Pollution Cleanup Act can make real change for countless communities across the country who have suffered needlessly for far too long. It will put real dollars to work in restoring and remediating distressed areas and by extension provide justice, equality, and better health outcomes for those who most urgently need it. 

Congress has the opportunity to address the toxic pollution and other unsafe conditions that have disproportionately harmed frontline communities for generations. The United States has a long legacy of environmental injustice. But the future doesn’t need to be dictated by our past. Together, we can make this a more just and healthy country for everyone.   

Your support can help turn this proposed legislation into a reality. Contact your Members of Congress today in support of this historic legislation.

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