WASHINGTON– Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, announced today that the membership of the CPC voted to endorse the Environmental Justice For All Act. The bill was introduced in the House by CPC Chair Emeritus Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) and Representative A. Donald McEachin (VA-04). 

The lawmakers introduced the Environmental Justice For All Act on March 18, 2021, the culmination of a years-long, inclusive, transparent community-led process to draft comprehensive environmental justice legislation based on public input.

“Progressives understand the demands of this moment in our country. We know that as we work to rebuild from the Trump years, the pandemic, and combat the climate crisis, we cannot continue to leave low-income communities and communities of color behind,” said Rep. Jayapal. “We have a special duty to those who’ve borne the brunt of pollution and environmental racism. Our work to transition to renewable energy, build and develop technologies that protect our clean air and water, and create good, union paying jobs, has presented us with an opportunity to address the cumulative impact of environmental and social injustice on Black, Brown, Indigenous, and economically deprived communities. The Progressive Caucus is thrilled to endorse the Environmental Justice For All Act, and join Chair Emeritus Grijalva and Rep. McEachin in the fight for this visionary legislation.”

The bill’s co-authors issued the following statements: 

“For too long, unjust federal policies have allowed major polluters, like power plants and manufacturing facilities, to concentrate in poor communities and communities of color, putting their health, safety, and quality of life on the line,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chair Grijalva. “The Environmental Justice For All Act reverses course on that history, ensuring that all communities have the right to clean air, clean water, and an environment that enriches their lives. I’m proud to have the support of the Progressive Caucus as we continue the fight to make environmental justice a reality for all Americans

“I thank the Congressional Progressive Caucus for endorsing the Environmental Justice for All Act,” said Rep. McEachin. “This legislation was developed through meaningful consultation with impacted communities, climate advocates, and other stakeholders to develop tailored, community-driven solutions to environmental injustice. The EJ For All Act will take comprehensive steps to combat generational inequities and empower vulnerable communities that are disproportionately impacted by environmental injustice and degradation. This endorsement adds important momentum to our efforts to ensure a healthy, livable future for all Americans.”

Among other provisions, the Environmental Justice For All Act:

  • Strengthens environmental compliance and pollution standards by requiring the consideration of cumulative environmental impacts in permitting decisions under the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The bill ensures that permits will not be issued if projects are unable to show a reasonable certainty of no harm to human health after consideration of cumulative impacts. Currently, there is no federal limit on cumulative impact pollution for environmental justice communities that are already overburdened by industrial pollution. 

  • Provides new enforcement tools to counter environmental discrimination by strengthening the Civil Rights Act to allow citizens and communities to legally challenge prohibited discrimination in court, overturning the Alexander v. Sandoval ruling; and

  • Promotes more equitable access to environmental amenities, including through technical application assistance for federal grants, dedicated environmental justice community grants to support research, education, outreach, development, and implementation of projects to improve environmental conditions in environmental justice communities.