Tucson, Ariz. – Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) will lead an online forum on environmental justice and public health in Louisiana’s Cancer Alley region this Thursday, Aug. 27, at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. The event is part of Grijalva’s ongoing national virtual tour to build support for the Environmental Justice for All Act, which he and Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) introduced in February and which Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) introduced in the Senate on July 30.
Grijalva and Rep. McEachin will discuss the impacts that decades of neglect have had on Cancer Alley and how the Environmental Justice for All Act would give community members long-sought legal powers to protect themselves from polluter abuses. The bill was written after a collaborative process with impacted communities lasting more than a year, and has been praised as a new model for preparing legislation.
Among other measures, the bill would:
- Amend the Civil Rights Act to allow private citizens and organizations that experience discrimination (based on race or national origin) to seek legal remedies when a program, policy, or practice causes a disparate impact;
- Provide $75 million annually for research and program development grants to reduce health disparities and improve public health in disadvantaged communities;
- Levy new fees on oil, gas, and coal companies to create a Federal Energy Transition Economic Development Assistance Fund, which would support workers and communities transitioning away from greenhouse gas-dependent jobs; and
- Require federal agencies to consider health effects that might accumulate over time when making permitting decisions under the federal Clean Air and Clean Water acts.
Thursday’s event will feature four speakers:
• Sharon Lavigne, Director, RISE St. James
• Asti Davis, Climate Justice Network Engagement Manager, Foundation for Louisiana
• Dr. Beverly L. Wright, Executive Director, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice
• Colette Pichon Battle, Director, Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy
When: 3:30 p.m. Eastern time
The Louisiana event is the second in an ongoing series of online forums around the country on the many ways the Environmental Justice for All Act would improve the lives of traditionally marginalized communities. The national tour began with a July 30 event centered on environmental justice in Michigan. Future dates include:
• Environmental Justice Now: Houston – Tuesday, Sept. 1st: 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Eastern time
• Environmental Justice Now: New Mexico – Tuesday, Sept. 8th: 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Eastern time
• Environmental Justice Now: Los Angeles – Tuesday, Sept. 15th: 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Eastern time
Links and more information about those events will be shared as they become available.
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