Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, July 27, 2022, in a full committee markup, the House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 2021, the Environmental Justice For All Act, by a vote of 26-21. The legislation, introduced by Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-Va.) on March 18, 2021, is the most comprehensive environmental justice bill in history and the first major environmental justice bill to pass through a congressional committee.
The historic markup was widely celebrated across Congress and outside groups; the Environmental Justice For All Act currently has over 100 cosponsors and is supported by over 300 organizations, ranging from grassroots environmental justice and public health groups to leading national environmental organizations. The Houston Chronicle Editorial Board also endorsed the bill today. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) leads companion legislation in the Senate.
On the bill passing through the Committee, Chair Grijalva said, “Today was a historic day—not just for Congress, but for the millions of Americans who have been demanding and fighting tirelessly for environmental justice for decades. Environmental justice communities wrote this bill, they crafted these solutions, and after today, we finally have a chance to bring their voices to the House floor and pass this bill into law. I urge my House and Senate colleagues to push for a vote on this historic legislation as soon as possible.”
Republicans on the committee unanimously voted against the bill. Ranking member Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Arkansas 4th district) cautioned that the bill would “Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.” Westerman argued new regulations would slow down much-needed infrastructure projects.
Other Republicans have argued that the bill focuses on “racism” where racism does not exist, creates an over-reliance on government assistance for disadvantaged communities, and will lead communities into “energy poverty” by raising the cost of energy and driving jobs overseas.
Proponents of the bill are urging congress to introduce the bill to the house floor with the hopes of getting the bill passed to the Senate by Mid-September.
Watch the full Committee hearing and learn more about the bill here