As Congressional negotiations continue on legislation to address climate change, energy security, and environmental protection, FCNL led a group of more than 60 organizations in calling on lawmakers to take meaningful and historic action to address the impact of environmental racism on communities across the United States.
This broad coalition was united in expressing their belief that no community should be left behind as we seek to build a just and sustainable low-carbon society.
This broad coalition, which includes faith-based, environmental, socially-responsible investor associations, and good-government groups, was united in expressing their belief that no community should be left behind as we seek to build a just and sustainable low-carbon society. Together they urged Congressional leaders to include $162.9 billion in environmental justice funding that formed part of the $555 billion in climate investments in the Build Back Better Act in any final budget reconciliation package.
These and other initiatives outlined under the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform form part of the comprehensive response to environmental discrimination the co-signers all support and are working to pass.
The letter can be downloaded or viewed below.
Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi,
As the Congress considers budget reconciliation legislation, the undersigned organizations write to ask you to prioritize funding for environmental justice in any final reconciliation package. Specifically, we ask that you include the $162.9 billion in environmental justice funding that formed part of the $555 billion in climate investments in H.R. 5376, the Build Back Better Act, as passed by the House of Representatives.
This funding is critical to efforts to address the impact of environmental racism that continues to impact communities across the U.S. The environmental injustices low-income and marginalized communities face are rooted in a long history of deliberate policy choices that entrenched segregation, exacerbated inequality, and exposed communities to multiple environmental hazards over the course of decades. The result of these policy choices is visible in communities like Diamond, Louisiana, where for years residents have dealt with illnesses and diseases associated with toxic emissions from the Shell Norco petrochemical facility located directly across the fence-line from their homes. Similar stories can be found across the U.S., from the Pacific Northwest to the Carolinas.
We support legislative initiatives to rectify past environmental injustices, including the Environmental Justice for All Act. We also celebrate the investments in clean drinking water and environmental remediation contained in Public Law 117-58, the Infrastructure Innovation and Jobs Act (IIJA). The environmental justice programs included in H.R.5376—together with the investments made under the IIJA—can help ease the burden on communities impacted by fossil fuel pollution. These programs include:
- $5 billion for environmental and climate justice block grants to reduce pollution and climate threats in frontline communities and support community-led priorities to reduce pollution and improve public health and climate-readiness.
- $3.87 billion for a Rural Partnership Program to help rural regions and Tribal Nations realize their vision for inclusive community and economic development.
- $265 million for air quality monitoring to ensure accountability and transparency of toxic levels of air pollution.
- $50 million for data collection on disproportionate environmental hazards to identify and track communities disproportionately harmed by environmental threats.
These and other initiatives outlined under the Equitable and Just National Climate Platform form part of the comprehensive response to environmental discrimination that we ask you to support.
Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin said that “one has to fight for justice for all.” The 117th Congress has to fight for justice for all - no community should be left behind as we seek to build a just and sustainable low carbon society. This Congress has a moral responsibility to lift the burden of injustice from the shoulders of those who have borne the brunt of fossil fuel pollution. We ask you to meet this historic moment and pass legislation that includes $162.9 billion for environmental justice programs as a key part of a robust U.S. response to the climate crisis. Because all of us have a right to clean air, clean water, and healthy, vibrant communities.
AJF Financial Services, Inc.
Alliance of Baptists
American Friends Service Committee
Arizona Faith Network - Cherishing Creation Collaborative
Association of Young Americans (AYA)
Clean Energy Action
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
Consolidated Oregon Indivisible Network
Creation Justice Ministries
Dayenu: A Jewish Call to Climate Action
Dominican Sisters of Sparkill
Earth Action, Inc.
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon / Oregon Interfaith Power and Light
Empower Our Future
Environmental Defense Fund
Etica Funds - Responsible Investments
Figure 8 Investment Strategies
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Franciscan Action Network
FreshWater Accountability Project
Friends Fiduciary Corporation
Gemini Energy Solutions
Green Door Initiative
Green The Church
Honor the Earth
Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s Climate Action Campaign
Intercommunity Peace & Justice Center
Interfaith Power and Light
Investor Advocates for Social Justice
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
League of Conservation Voters
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Peace Action Wisconsin
Pennsylvania Interfaith Power and Light
Seventh Generation Interfaith Board Member
Sisters of Mercy Justice Team
Socially Responsible Investment Coalition
St. Teresa of Avila Ecumenical Catholic Community
The People’s Justice Council
The Union for Reform Judaism
The United Methodist Church - General Board of Church and Society
Unitarian Universalist Association
Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice