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  • Writer's pictureClaire Miller

Guest Blog- EJ Table Press Release Re: Senate Climate Bill

Updated: Jul 1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Monday, July 1, 2024


Contact: 

John Walkey, GreenRoots, 617.970.4256, johnw@greenrootsej.org 

Sofia Owen, Alternatives for Community & Environment, 351.218.9399 sofia@ace-ej.org 

Rusty Polsgrove, Arise for Social Justice, 781 801 5233, rusty@arisespringfield.org


As Senate Climate Bill Purposefully Omits

Reference to Environmental Justice Populations, 

EJ Advocates Call on House to Champion Justice


BOSTON, MA. – The Massachusetts Environmental Justice Legislative Table — a state-wide coalition of environmental justice organizations and their allies — is calling on the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass a strong climate bill after being disappointed by the one passed by the Senate last week. The more than 90-page bill, which was released, debated and approved in less than two week’s time, did not include a single meaningful mention of environmental justice populations, who the state must, by law, serve and protect. 


“How can any serious piece of climate policy be complete without addressing environmental justice populations? We passed an important definition of environmental justice four years ago, and yet our senators have passed a large package of climate policy without once referencing environmental justice populations – the very people most impacted by climate change. This is a failure of responsibility; and harkens to the conservative states in our nation and their lack of prioritization of people of color and low-income communities,” said Roseann Bongiovanni, executive director of GreenRoots.


“Environmental justice is a civil rights principle: all people have a right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live, learn, work, play, and pray in and enjoy a clean and healthy environment regardless of race, income, national origin, or English language proficiency. That is not the current reality in Massachusetts. The failure to include policies that would move the needle- most notably, a robust cumulative impacts assessment- is an unacceptable continuation of the status quo,” said Sofia Owen of Alternatives for Community & Environment (ACE). 


The Senate climate bill covered many topics, including siting reform--an issue on which Representative Madaro and Senator DiDomenico have filed legislation in multiple sessions on behalf of the Environmental Justice table. 


“We call on the House to pass a bill that champions environmental justice, promotes clean air and includes a justice centered, revised siting policy. A climate package sent to Governor Healey’s desk will not be complete without these elements. The purposeful removal of language directly protecting Environmental Justice Populations is an obvious move to perpetuate the racist history of our country's siting policies. Inaction on the part of state legislators and our governor shows their approval of the inequitable burdens currently borne by black, brown, and low income residents of our commonwealth” said Rusty Polsgrove of Arise for Social Justice. 


This large bill comes with barely five weeks left in the session. The House must approve its version of the legislation before a conference committee can be formed to reconcile the two packages. 


The MA Environmental Justice Legislative table is led by GreenRoots, Alternatives for Community & Environment, Coalition for Social Justice, Arise for Social Justice, Groundwork Lawrence, The North American Indian Center of Boston with allyship from Conservation Law Foundation, Union of Concerned Scientists, Massachusetts Public Health Association, Unitarian Universalist Mass Action, Clean Water Action, MA Climate Action Network, Environmental League of MA, Green Energy Consumers Alliance

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