US Rep. Melanie Stansbury Highlights Environmental Justice For All Act Benefits For New Mexico Communities

From the Office of U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — During a House Committee on Natural Resources hearing Tuesday morning examining H.R. 2021, the Environmental Justice for All Act, U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury (N.M.-01) highlighted how the bill would benefit communities on the front lines of environmental pollution in New Mexico.  

The Environmental Justice for All Act, led by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (Ariz.-03) and cosponsored by Rep. Stansbury, is a comprehensive environmental justice bill designed to correct present and future environmental injustices in the United States by funding initiatives to protect clean water, clean air and access to green spaces for all communities. 

The legislation is informed by the belief that federal policy can and should seek to achieve environmental justice, health equity, and climate justice for all communities.  

Rep. Stansbury’s remarks highlighted the federal government’s responsibility to clean up environmental contamination, particularly in low-income communities, and emphasized the need for robust consultation with communities on the front lines of legacy pollution in New Mexico before implementing decisions that affect them. 

“Let me be clear – our communities must be at the table and making decisions that affect their quality of life, their health, and their futures. That is what this bill is fundamentally about,” Rep. Stansbury said. “This is not a hypothetical. This is our history. Our communities have faced generations of environmental injustice and continue to bear the disproportionate impacts of this legacy.” 

Rep. Stansbury continued by questioning the witness panel, including Dr. Sheats and Cortez, asking, “Why is it so important that our communities have a seat at the table?” 

Dr. Sheats, Director of the Center for the Urban Environment at the John S. Watson Institute for Urban Policy and Research at Kean University, and founding member of the New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance responded, stating, “I think it gives our communities a fighting chance to address the elevated levels of pollution often found in our communities. It gives them some hope and a fighting chance to do so.” 

Cortez, Co-Executive Director of East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice elaborated, stating, “We have nothing to lose. Literally – this is our lives, and we will continue fighting for it. This policy, and any policy that is truly focused on environmental justice, we will continue fighting for it, and we will continue fighting for a seat at this table.” 

A fact sheet on the Environmental Justice For All Act can be found here.

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