Fighting for Environmental Justice

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Under President Obama’s leadership, our environmental policies have become more responsive to the needs of communities of color and low-income communities, both of which have borne the worst impacts of pollution and climate change for far too long.

The president and his administration have taken historic steps to make clean energy and energy efficiency available to all communities in our country, to respect the sovereignty of Native American tribes over their lands, and to protect communities across the country.

Key highlights:

  • Finalized in September 2015, updates to the Farm Worker Protection Standard are an incredibly important step forward for environmental justice, protecting the health of our nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families, many of whom are Latino and have been needlessly exposed to dangerous pesticides that poison tens of thousands of workers every year. Many of the provisions in the updated standards, like prohibiting children under the age of 18 from applying pesticides and requiring annual trainings for workers, will go a long way to ensuring farm workers enjoy the same level of protections as workers in other professions.
  • The Department of Energy’s Solar in Your Community Challenge is helping expand access to solar energy for low and moderate income communities, state, local and tribal governments, and non-profits. Furthermore, DOE’s compact with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Clean Energy Coalition (HBCU-CEC), works with HBCUs to adopt energy efficiency, solar and other renewable energies on campus and within the communities where HBCUs are located. In addition, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has partnered with EDF Climate Corps to help promote energy efficiency in HUD-assisted and public housing.
  • The Army Corps of Engineers rejected the permit for a coal export terminal in Washington state — which would have been the largest terminal in North America, threatened public health, and infringed on the Lummi Tribe’s fishing rights. The Army Corps also rejected the permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, which would have cut across sacred lands and risked contaminating the water of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The Department of the Interior also cancelled 15 energy leases in Montana on land considered sacred to the Blackfeet Nation tribes.