Press Release

New legislation takes aim at defeating environmental racism

Women in foreground marching at rally and holding signs during Global Climate Strike in 2019 in Washington, DC

Protesters march in Washington DC during the Global Climate Strike in 2019

Carla Ruas, TWS

Lawmakers reintroduce the Environmental Justice for All Act

Author: Santana Vannarath

The Wilderness Society strongly supports today’s re-introduction of the Environmental Justice for All Act. Our elected leaders must address critical environmental issues affecting communities across the United States.

This legislation, developed over a year-long process, includes input from community, Tribal and environmental justice leaders, as well as a wide array of stakeholders. Many of these people have led the fight for decades to achieve early and meaningful involvement in federal decision-making, to require environmental justice training for agency staff, to receive resources to expand outdoor equity and environmental protections, as well as just transitions for communities most impacted by pollution and climate change.

Drawing from the legislation’s statement of principles: “Across the nation, our air and water are being polluted with impunity, at great consequence to our health and environment. Communities that have borne the brunt of this pollution are now on the front lines of climate change, often getting hit first and worst.”

With this legislation, Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA), and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) take a bold step toward establishing environmental justice compliance requirements, funding important health research, ensuring more equitable access to parks and recreational opportunities for underserved communities and addressing the longstanding inequities that have harmed people of color and Indigenous communities across the country. 

Statement from Juan Pérez Sáez, Energy & Climate Campaign Manager at The Wilderness Society:

“Everybody deserves the right to clean air and water, and an environment that enriches life. For too long, people of color and low-income communities have been denied those rights while also being historically and deliberately underrepresented in the decision-making processes that directly affect their health and livelihoods. The Environmental Justice for All Act is one of the first truly community-led pieces of legislation, and we thank Chair Grijalva, Representative McEachin, Senator Duckworth, and their staffs for uniting a diverse coalition in the creation of this legislation and keeping the most impacted communities at the forefront."