Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Tom Carper (D-DE) have announced the creation of the first Senate Environmental Justice Caucus.
The caucus will be tasked with raising awareness of environmental and pollution issues that disproportionately impact the poor and communities of color.
“Every American has the right to breathe safe air, drink clean water, and live on uncontaminated land, regardless of their zip code, the size of their wallet, and the color of their skin,” said Senator Duckworth in a statement. “That’s why I’m proud to start the Senate’s first Environmental Justice Caucus to raise awareness [to] the fact that communities of color face public health challenges at alarming rates while too many in power look the other way.”
Sen. Duckworth's home state of Illinois has a number of the environmental issues. According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, Black children in the city of Chicago are eight times more likely to die from asthma than their white counterparts. The city's Black adults also suffer from asthma 75 percent more often than white people.
“We cannot achieve economic justice or social justice in this country without also addressing environmental justice,” said Sen. Booker, who is running for president, in a statement. “Clean air and clean water shouldn’t be luxuries for the privileged, and the Environmental Justice Caucus is an important step toward raising awareness and taking action to address this injustice.”
The caucus will help those communities advocate for themselves with the federal government, by providing assistance, generating legislation, and organizing hearings and events. It will also coordinate with the House Environmental Justice Task Force, which consists of members from the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Asian Pacific American Caucus.
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