McEachin, Barragán, Jayapal Announced United for Climate and Environmental Justice Congressional Task Force

May 1, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), his fellow co-chairs Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), announced the start of the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force alongside environmental leaders.

United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force is comprised of members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, who personally aim to address the disproportionate environmental impact on communities of color, low-income families and other marginalized groups.

“Environmental issues, while critical for all of us, disproportionately impacts communities of color, low income and rural communities, all of which are in my congressional district. I am eager to address these needs and to ensure that everyone is aware of the undue suffering in these communities. I also want to do everything I can to proactively mitigate the human impact of climate change and the unhealthy exposure to waste and pollution that marginalized communities have long-endured,” said Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04). “The time to act is now.”

“Issues like climate change and pollution disproportionately impact low income communities and communities of color, a fact that must be considered in our work as lawmakers. My constituents in the 44th District live this reality every day especially those near the Port of Los Angeles and those who live so close to oil refineries in Wilmington or Carson,” said Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44). “I look forward to working with my colleagues from the tri-caucus to help our most vulnerable communities with climate resource issues.”

“Across this country, low-income Americans, limited English speakers, immigrants and people of color are at an increased risk of exposure to the negative impacts of climate change. Instead of helping these communities, President Trump plans to cut programs aimed at curbing environmental injustice,” said Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07). “The United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force will work specifically to identify solutions for climate justice and equity as we take on the impacts of climate change.  Equity is not about all communities getting the same thing—it is about the recognition that some communities suffered more and need more resources and targeted programs to even reach the same baseline.”

“Regardless of the color of your skin, how much money you make, or what ZIP code you live in, every American is entitled to clean air, clean water and access to our public lands,” said Ranking Member Grijalva (AZ-03). “It’s infuriating that the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are focused on making it easier for oil, gas and coal companies to drill and mine on protected land instead of working for the people. This approach is simply un-American. Our national parks and monuments belong to all of us, they tell the story of our diverse history as a country, and they deserve to be protected today and for generations to come.”

“In the face of the Trump administration that places profits over people and continuously says our lives do not matter we must recognize what we are fighting for,” said Mr. Mustafa Santiago Ali, Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice and Community Revitalization at Hip Hop Caucus. Our fight is anchored in the reality of what’s happening on the ground in communities like the Manchester community of Houston, TX, Port Arthur, TX and other vulnerable communities. Manchester is surrounded by petrochemical corporations which forces residents to breathe in toxic fumes for the benefit of corporate greed. This is unacceptable. The rolling back of budgets, legislation, and statutes that protect our lives must cease. We must raise our expectations of what’s happening in our communities and of our elected officials.”

“The Trump Administration is attacking people of color on multiple fronts. It is more urgent than ever vulnerable communities to be heard by our Congressional leaders,” said Ms. Vien Truong, the Director of Green For All and Deputy CEO of The Dream Corps. “For too long, communities like mine have been ignored and treated as dispensable. People from my zip code will live 12 years less than more affluent areas nearby. Those who are suffering most are the ones closest to the problem - and must be part of shaping the solutions.”

“The exciting announcement of the United for Climate Task Force, created and co-chaired by members of CHC, CBC, and CAPAC, is especially significant now, given the increasingly egregious effects of climate change and global degradation on communities of color who suffer from environmental disasters first and worst,” said Mr. Mark Magaña, President & CEO of GreenLatinos. “GreenLatinos looks forward to advocating for proactive policies that will protect our climate, avoid and undo environmental injustice, and ensure a bright future for our families with clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a stable climate for this and future generations.”

"Environmental justice means that every community, regardless of race, income, or country of origin, deserves to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and be protected from harmful substances in our environment,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis, 1st District of Los Angeles County. “Unfortunately, we have seen two Americas for too long, where poor, working-class families are ignored while affluent neighborhoods receive immediate attention and relief.  We must keep working to ensure everyone's well-being is treated with the same dignity and respect as that of any human being.  Neither the color of their skin nor the language they speak should have any bearing on whether their concerns are heard or their health needs are met."

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Click here for press conference video and here for press conference photos.

 

Contact: Jamitress Bowden
(202) 225-6365