Nationwide, majority Latino, Black and Asian neighborhoods are consistently exposed to higher levels of pollution particles; people of color are more vulnerable to wildfires and climate change-fueled environmental disasters


Washington (February 9, 2022) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) urged the Biden administration to swiftly release a first iteration of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, which would provide government agencies with information and data on the effects that environmental harms have on disadvantaged communities. The tool in development at the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) is critical to the fulfillment of the Biden administration’s Justice40 agenda - a promise to direct at least 40 percent of federal investments for a clean and climate-safe future into communities that have been harmed by racist and unjust environmental practices. The CEQ has been working for months through a stakeholder engagement process to develop this new tool. In their letter, the lawmakers urge the Biden administration to allow the CEQ to release a first iteration of its Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool, so that it may continue to be developed in collaboration with environmental justice experts, community members, and other stakeholders.


“Communities throughout the United States are facing powerful and frequent hurricanes, devastating wildfires, and tornadoes, but Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities face an extra burden: the burden of environmental racism. Historically, these communities also have been denied the resources needed to adapt to climate impacts, remediate past harms, and build a clean energy future. The Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool and the Justice40 initiative are key to addressing these inequities,” write the lawmakers in their letter. “The swift release of a prototype will enable the CEQ to move forward in soliciting public comment and working with key stakeholders to improve the tool.”


A copy of the letter can be found HERE.


Senators Markey and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Congresswoman Bush introduced the Environmental Justice Mapping and Data Collection Act of 2021, which sought to authorize funding for a system to comprehensively identify environmental justice communities using a range of demographic factors, environmental burdens, socioeconomic conditions, and public health concerns. Language from this legislation in the House version of the Build Back Better Act would further fund the development of the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool.


Additional Senate co-signers include Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.)  Additional House co-signers include Representatives Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE), Mondaire Jones (NY-17), Marie Newman (IL-03), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), and Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12).