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PRESS RELEASE

Equitable and Just National Climate Platform Groups Welcome Climate Crisis Committee’s Solutions

Washington, D.C. — The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis today issued a comprehensive plan that puts environmental justice, equity and reducing pollution in overburdened communities at the forefront of solutions to address climate change, according to a broad coalition of environmental justice and environmental organizations.

The co-authors of the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform, which has been signed by more than 280 environmental justice and environmental organizations, issued this joint statement upon release of the committee’s report: “Solving the Climate Crisis, the Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America.”

“Solving the climate crisis will require us to advance economic, racial, and environmental justice at the same time as we pursue reductions in climate pollution. The co-authors of the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform applaud the Select Committee’s Climate Crisis Action Plan for recognizing the interconnectedness of climate change, pollution exposure, public health, jobs, and racial inequality – the Action Plan puts environmental justice and equity at the center of its proposed solutions, and addresses environmental racism, economic injustice and other inequities throughout as crucial considerations in each chapter. We look forward to continuing to work with the Select Committee on policies to tackle the climate crisis, dismantle and rectify environmental injustice, and accelerate the transition to a pollution-free economy that benefits all communities.”

Following are additional statements by Platform co-authors:

Dr. Cecilia Martinez, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy 

“For too long, systemic racism and injustice have disproportionately exposed economically disadvantaged communities, tribal communities, and communities of color to the highest levels of toxic pollution. As the current COVID-19 crisis demonstrates, the interconnection between environmental and health risks has created crisis conditions for communities already battling toxic pollution that causes respiratory and other illnesses. Unless intentionally interrupted, systemic racism will continue to be a major obstacle to creating a healthy planet. The only path forward is to design national climate policies that are centered on justice. CEED welcomes the Select Committee’s climate policy report, which is centered on equitable climate solutions that will build an inclusive, just and pollution-free economy that works for all people. The report supports many of the policy priorities in the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform, including ensuring a healthy climate and air quality for all, and access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity, water, and transportation for every community. In particular, CEED welcomes the report’s recommendations to ensure that all communities share the benefits of expanded investment in energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy and a prosperous and vibrant clean economy.”

Michele Roberts, National Co-Coordinator of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform

“The Select Committee process has been centered on the desire to put equity and justice at the core of national climate policy and to invite and include input from EJ advocates. The Committee calls for stronger enforcement of environmental regulations in environmental justice communities; directs EPA to address the cumulative impacts of pollution as it implements environmental laws; and embeds environmental and climate justice in federal agency decision-making and the congressional legislative process. The Committee’s report puts forward a strong climate policy roadmap that, if followed, would hopefully improve the quality of life and wellbeing of people living in economically disadvantaged areas, tribal communities and communities of color.“

Richard Moore, National Co-Coordinator of Los Jardines Institute

“EJ advocates have fought for decades for just and equitable environmental and climate policies – and to have a seat at the table to shape those policies. Our vision is that all people and all communities have the right to breathe clean air, live free of dangerous levels of toxic pollution, access healthy food, and enjoy the benefits of a prosperous and vibrant clean economy. The Select Committee’s report affirms this vision and the need to meaningfully involve and value the experience and ideas of environmental justice communities. In its report, the Committee also highlights what many EJ groups have emphasized for years: to be effective and widely supported, climate policy must do more than cut carbon pollution—it must also address the legacy of environmental racism and deliver real benefits to communities, including cleaner air and water, improved public health, economic and workforce development assistance, and access to natural spaces.”

Peggy Shepard, Co-founder and Executive Director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice

“The COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate havoc in communities of color and low income is a symptom of a larger issue: a legacy of structural racism that resulted in policies and practices that facilitate extreme weather zones, economic impoverishment, environmental degradation, diminished health states, a lack of social cohesion, and other adverse living conditions. This is our time to address this legacy and the Climate Crisis Action Plan can be an effective tool for advancing substantive discourse and producing just laws that center remediation in climate policy, deliver energy democracy and economic benefit to low-income communities, improve indoor and outdoor air quality to actually meet attainment standards, and produce green spaces and healthy food systems that positively influence our morbidity and mortality rates. We look forward to working with members of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and all of our congressional leaders to create bold and equitable solutions that deliver on the pillars of the Climate Crisis Action Plan, where appropriate, and that lead to tangible gains in resolving the climate crisis.”

The National Climate Platform, including additional environmental justice inaugural signatories, can be found at: AJustClimate.org.

Platform co-authors and inaugural signatories

Center for American Progress, Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy, Center for the Urban Environment, John S. Watson Institute for Public Policy, Thomas Edison State University, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, Earthjustice, Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, Harambee House/Citizens for Environmental Justice, League of Conservation Voters, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, Los Jardines Institute, Michigan Environmental Justice Coalition, Midwest Environmental Justice Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, ReGenesis Project, Sierra Club, Tishman Environment and Design Center at the New School, Union of Concerned Scientists, WE ACT for Environmental Justice

For more information, please contact Ari Drennen at zdrennen@americanprogress.org or 202-741-6372
or Jake Thompson at jthompson@nrdc.org, 202-289-2387.