McEachin, Grijalva launch effort to draft environmental justice bill

Donald McEachinCongressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) and Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) released the following statement after co-hosting the first-ever environmental justice convening at the U.S. Capitol.

Hundreds of environmental justice (EJ) advocates, leaders, and practitioners flew in from across the country to discuss long-standing injustices and areas of collaboration between advocates and policymakers. Throughout the day, policymakers and a broad range of organizations and individuals participated in panel discussions on the history and context of the EJ movement, and current challenges and policy priorities for EJ practitioners and frontline community-based organizations. At the convening, Congressman McEachin and Chair Grijalva unveiled a set of principles to guide the development of comprehensive environmental justice legislation to be introduced later this Congress.

Community members can review the proposed principles, submit feedback and participate in the process athttps://naturalresources.house.gov/environmental-justice.

“I am humbled and honored to have cohosted this historic environmental justice Congressional convening,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin. “I am deeply appreciative of the hundreds of advocates who joined us from around the country who sacrificed their valuable time to share their passion and knowledge for environmental justice with congressional staff. True change begins with them, these are the community leaders who know the best solutions for addressing these climate injustices because they are on the front lines. Our statement of principles is built around that concept, that we need everyone to weigh in on policy solutions in order to draft the most comprehensive legislation possible.

“I am extremely grateful to Chairman Grijalva for being my partner in these efforts and to the Natural Resources Committee for helping make the Convening such a success. This is a new beginning and I look forward to our continued work with each other, those who attended, and many others to draft environmental justice legislation.”

“Regardless of color, culture, origin or income, every American should enjoy equal access to a healthy environment to live, learn and work,” Chair Grijalva said. “The convening was a crucial moment to come together and lift the voices of communities impacted by oppressive and racist policies. They’re too often the only ones not at the table when those policies are made, and I’m honored to have Rep. McEachin’s steadfast partnership as we bring them into the discussion. We’re excited to have the partnership and energy of the environmental justice community in drafting our legislation to right these injustices. This week’s event is just the beginning.”

“We applaud Chairman Raul M. Grijalva, Representative A. Donald McEachin and the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee for organizing an immersive environmental and climate justice experience for Congressional staff,” said Cecil Corbin-Mark, Deputy Director and Director of Policy Initiatives at WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “Hopefully the EJ Convening equipped those responsible for policy development with the grounding necessary to ensure an equity lens is applied to creating legislation that will address the pressing environmental issues threatening frontline communities.”

The archived livestream of the morning session can be viewed at http://bit.ly/2FrZWVu and the afternoon session can be viewed at http://bit.ly/2Xg9rC9.

Photos from the convening can be viewed at https://flic.kr/s/aHsmEyxJrG.


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