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justice for all

As Trump ignores enviro justice, congressional reps step up.

Grist 50-er Nanette Diaz Barragán of California, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Donald McEachin of Virginia introduced a package of bills aimed at ensuring communities disproportionately affected by climate change, pollution, and environmental contamination are not forgotten.

The longshot legislation proposed by the three freshman Democrats follows their cofounding in late April of the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force, as well as a letter they sent to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last month, urging him not to erase his agency’s progress on environmental justice.

While President Trump’s proposed budget suggests crippling the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, one of the newly introduced bills would “officially establish” the office and arm it with $16 million annually to distribute as small grants to communities developing solutions to environmental and public health disparities.

The second bill creates essentially an environmental justice czar within the executive branch, and a third resolution implores all levels of government to increase transparency in policymaking to avoid creating environment injustices.

“These bills prioritize the protection of people in both red and blue states,” Jayapal says, “and aim to position clean air, clean water and social justice at the center of the climate fight.”