As members of Coming Clean and allies of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, Health Care Without Harm signed a letter urging policymakers to support the advancement of the Environmental Justice for All Act (H.R. 2021) legislation.
The letter called for urgently needed policy improvements which are addressed in the Act including:
- Strengthening the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to ensure that communities have a meaningful opportunity to engage in NEPA processes that will impact them;
- Requiring federal agencies to consider cumulative health impacts under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act in making permitting decisions, and ensuring that permits are only issued when there is a reasonable certainty of no harm to human health;
- Providing $75 million in annual grants for research and program development to reduce health disparities and improve public health in environmental justice communities;
- Restoring the Civil Rights Act to permit private citizens and organizations facing discrimination to seek legal remedies;
- Creating an energy transition economic development assistance fund – paid for through fees on oil, gas, and coal companies – to support communities and workers as they transition away from greenhouse gas-dependent economies.
As stated in the letter, “The Environmental Justice for All Act is a long overdue correction to our nation’s failed chemical management policies, and the cumulative hazards and disproportionate harms that have resulted for communities of color, low-income communities, and Native/Indigenous communities. We urge the Committee to begin to correct these injustices and address this legacy of harm, by promptly passing the bill out of Committee and sending it on to the full House of Representatives.”
A statement from Stacia Clinton, Health Care Without Harm’s chief program officer
"Hospitals and health systems are already responding to health impacts caused by climate disasters and other public health emergencies – especially in historically underserved communities where inaction has widened health disparities. Climate change and institutional racism exacerbate public health issues and threaten the stability and effectiveness of our health care system.
Health Care Without Harm supports this legislation that takes the lead from historically disadvantaged communities in the design, implementation, and enforcement of health and environmental policies. To achieve health equity, health care must work in partnership with impacted communities to address policies and practices that unfairly put their health at greater risk based on race, ethnicity, or economic status."