Washington, D.C. — Today, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) released a new report examining the environmental records of members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), collectively referred to as the Tri-Caucus. Using data from LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard, the report details how members of the Tri-Caucus were champions of strong environmental policies that address environmental injustice, helped chair a record number of hearings about climate change, and led on many of the critical pro-environmental bills during the 116th Congress.
LCV hosted a virtual event to launch the report today in partnership with Luz Collective, featuring House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva, Congressman Donald McEachin, and environmental justice advocate and National Co-Coordinator of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform Michele Roberts. Watch the event recording here.
The 116th Congress included 22 new members of color who were sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives. This historic Congress held a record breaking 119 hearings on the climate crisis in the House alone and introduced the most environmental justice bills ever, including the Environmental Justice for All Act led by Representative Donald McEachin and Chair Raúl Grijalva, and the Environmental Justice Act led by then Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The report also highlights the Clean School Bus Act led by Representative Jahana Hayes and then Senator Harris. Read the full report here.
“I want to thank the League of Conservation Voters for their critical efforts to protect the Grand Canyon and prioritize The Environmental Justice for All Act,” said Chair Raúl Grijalva. “We will need an all hands on deck approach if we are to combat the climate crisis and ensure frontline communities are not left behind. I look forward to partnering with LCV to pass comprehensive environmental justice legislation and preserve our public lands through the Grand Canyon Protection Act.”
“Last year, despite years of destructive, anti-environment policies under the Trump administration, we took great strides in the U.S. House of Representatives to champion a sustainable future for all,” said Congressman Donald McEachin. “Climate change is the challenge that will define our future and I look forward to continuing the shared fight for bold, inclusive environmental justice solutions alongside the League of Conservation Voters in the 117th Congress.”
“Members of the Tri-Caucuses have championed important pro-environment legislation rooted in justice and equity that has set the stage for the 117th Congress and the Biden administration to act swiftly and boldly — LCV applauds their history-making leadership and vision,” said LCV Legislative Representative Darien Davis. “The global pandemic has only exacerbated environmental racism in this country and amplified the need for all communities to breathe clean air and have access to outdoor spaces. We look forward to our continued partnership with Tri-Caucus members to combat the climate crisis, address environmental injustice, and protect our lands, air, and water.”
“For decades, low-income communities of color have been forced to live in neighborhoods with dirtier air, experiencing the worst effects of climate change and environmental injustices, so it is no surprise to see that people of color are some of the strongest advocates for climate action,” said Chispa National Director Johana Vicente. “Tri-Caucus members in the 116th Congress understand this and have championed legislation that would prioritize cleaning up the air our communities breathe, like the Clean School Bus Act — a bill that would transition dirty diesel buses to zero-emission, electric school buses in the low-income communities of color where children’s health most suffers from toxic pollution. Tri-Caucus members’ leadership is more important than ever, as our communities demand equitable, overdue access to a healthy environment.”
“Environmental justice leaders and grassroots organizers have been working so hard for decades to ensure communities never again have to deal with environmental racism and environmental injustice, and with the work of these Tri-Caucus members and the new Biden Harris administration we know there is a mandate for this action,” said National Co-Coordinator of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform Michele Roberts. “These issues must continue to be addressed with the people and communities who hold the solutions at the center. Together, we will make sure that not one community is left behind.”
“BIPOC communities have witnessed first-hand the devastating impacts of climate change . From wildfires and other natural disasters, to the defense of and search for clean water, clean air, and green public spaces — the need for equitable solutions to the climate crisis has never been more apparent,” said Luz Collective Co-Founder Lucy Flores. “Luckily, thanks to these Congressional members of Color in the Tri-Caucus, we are seeing the legislative leadership on environmental justice that we need to make a cleaner and more just future for our communities a reality.”
Landmark legislation such as the Environmental Justice For All Act was made possible by environmental justice leaders like Michele Roberts who have been fighting against environmental racism for decades and for the basic rights of their communities to have healthy places to live, work, play and pray.
The 2020 National Environmental Scorecard will be released in the coming weeks.