February 27, 2020


Legislation seeks to achieve environmental justice, health equity, & climate justice for underserved communities

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Joe Kennedy III today joined Congressman Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), and 17 colleagues to introduce the landmark Environmental Justice for All Act. The comprehensive legislation would strengthen civil rights laws, bolster environmental justice enforcement, fund health equity programs, and authorize critical grant programs for environmental justice communities among other provisions and policies.

“Communities that have shouldered the economic and health consequences of environmental destruction shouldn’t just be a consideration of climate change policies, they should be the focus. With the Environmental Justice for All Act, we can do more than just right the wrongs of our past, we can fundamentally change how we enact systemic reform in this country. Advocates and activists brought us to this inflection point in our nation’s history, now Congress must do our job to make good on our promise of justice for all.”

Among other features, the Environmental Justice for All Act:

  • creates a Federal Energy Transition Economic Development Assistance Fund – paid for through new fees on oil, gas and coal companies – to support communities and workers as they transition away from greenhouse gas-dependent economies;
  • requires federal agencies to consider cumulative health impacts under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act in making permitting decisions and ensures that permits will not be issued if projects cannot demonstrate a reasonable certainty of no harm to human health;
  • strengthens the Civil Rights Act to permit private citizens and organizations facing discrimination to seek legal remedies, overturning the Alexander v. Sandoval ruling; and
  • provides $75 million in annual grants for research and program development to reduce health disparities and improve public health in environmental justice communities.

To read the full bill, please click here.

Earlier this month, Kennedy introduced the Voices for Environmental Justice Act, which would provide a grant for low-income neighborhoods and communities of color to hire independent experts to participate in the decisions regarding petrochemical and solid waste disposal facilities that affect public health and safety. Both the Environmental Justice for All Act and Voices for Environmental Justice Act continue his efforts to ensure Congress prioritize climate justice in its broader environmental efforts.


For Immediate Release:
February 27, 2020

Dan Black (202) 225-5931