House Climate Plan to Address Environmental Injustice
Friday, July 3, 2020
RICHMOND, Va. - House Democrats in Congress have released a new plan that says the United States should reach a goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as a way to solve the climate crisis.
The report also demands that the nation make a stronger effort to reduce air pollution in low-income neighborhoods, which have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 crisis and climate change. Virginia U.S. Rep. Donald McEachin, D-Richmond, says the plan could help ease environmental injustices that disproportionately affect people of color.
"What this report does is, among other things, it empowers environmental justice communities to have their own private causes of action," says McEachin. "It demands that the federal government have meaningful and productive consultation with E.J. communities before promulgating regulations that will affect them."
The far-reaching package also aims to meld climate solutions with job creation and economic growth. However, it's expected to face stiff opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate.
McEachin points out that this week, Gov. Ralph Northam signed Virginia's first wind turbine deal, another major step toward easing the impacts of climate change. He says the congressional plan will help the Commonwealth fight sea-level rise, add electric cars, and ease public-housing issues related to poor air quality.
"It's good for Virginia from a health perspective," says McEachin. "It's good for Virginia from a transportation perspective, because again, we're going to rebuild our transportation sector in a green fashion. It's good for Virginia in that we're encouraging new industries to come about, in both solar and wind."
Sixty-five percent of Americans say the federal government isn't doing enough to reduce the negative effects of climate change, according to a Pew Research Center poll released last week. A majority in the poll also believe climate change is affecting their communities.
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