February 11, 2020


Legislation would empower communities to raise local environmental concerns

Washington, D.C. – On the 26th Anniversary of President Bill Clinton’s landmark Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice, Congressman Joe Kennedy III today introduced the Voices for Environmental Justice Act, which would encourage public engagement in the decision making process for the siting of petrochemical and solid waste disposal facilities. Building on his calls for Congress to prioritize systemic environmental justice policies in its broader climate efforts, Kennedy’s legislation would provide a grant for low-income neighborhoods and communities of color to hire independent experts to participate in the decisions affecting the community’s health and safety.

“Environmental injustice is deeply ingrained in a regulatory system that rewards corporate interests above public voices and American lives. Communities of color, indigenous communities and low-income neighborhoods already on the frontlines of our climate crisis are forced to disproportionately bear the economic, health and safety consequences of energy projects forced on them from above. With the Voices for Environmental Justice Act, we can ensure frontline communities have a seat at the table as petrochemical and solid waste disposal facilities are considered -- here in Massachusetts and across the country."

Kennedy has been a consistent advocate for frontline environmental and climate justice communities and for the inclusion of local voices in decisions about our energy future. Last year, he called on the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis to elevate environmental justice in any policies put forth by the committee. Kennedy also authored the Fair RATES Act which was enacted in 2018 and increased transparency and accountability in the regulatory process by ensuring consumers can legally challenge proposed rate increases. At home in Massachusetts, Kennedy has lent his voice to local communities fighting risky infrastructure projects, from the compressor station in Weymouth to the proposed electrical substation in East Boston.


For Immediate Release:
February 11, 2020

Dan Black (202) 225-5931