Senator Booker Makes Impassioned Case for Environmental Justice Act at ABA Event
Living in a toxic environment, crippled by environmental injustice makes it even harder to overcome other obstacles such as poverty, poor education or abuse, Booker points out.
Back in October, U.S. Senator Cory Booker and U.S. Representative Raul Ruiz introduced substantial legislation to eliminate environmental injustice. The Environmental Justice Act of 2017 directs federal agencies to address environmental justice through various agency-level actions and permitting decisions. Importantly, it also strengthens the legal protections against adverse environmental impacts and provides for more robust legal avenues to pursue polluters.
Perhaps the most significant environmental justice legislation so far conceived, the Environmental Justice Act is the collaborative work product of scores of professionals and advocates as well as dozens of grassroots organizations across the country to craft a comprehensive bill that strengthens environmental justice protections for environmentally impacted communities. Sadly, health disparities resulting from poor environmental conditions are extreme even after decades of good work by EPA since its establishment. Today, communities of color, low-income communities and indigenous peoples bear the brunt of negative effects of environmental pollution—even though nearly 2/3's of the country lives with walking distance of a contaminated property (of some degree).
As BL covered previously, the American Bar Association (ABA) recently hosted a panel at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) in Washington, D.C. entitled “Environmental Justice in the 21st Century: Threats and Opportunities.”
This panel and webinar featured a Keynote Address by Senator Booker followed by a panel discussion that included Mustafa Ali, Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization, for the Hip Hop Caucus, formerly head of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice, and Patrice Simms, Vice President of Litigation for Earthjustice, formerly an attorney at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Justice - Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Natural Resources Defense Council. In his remarks, Senator Booker spoke to his background in advocating for poor communities and the very practical and pragmatic way he came to champion environmental issues:
Watch Senator Booker’s entire keynote remarks below:
Access the program materials:
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