FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), United for Climate and Environmental Justice Task Force co-chairs, Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) and Rep. Pramilia Jayapal (WA-07), and Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-03) introduced H.R. 6826, legislation to require the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to maintain and annually update “EJSCREEN,” or an equivalent public environmental justice mapping and screening tool. H.R. 6826 is the House companion to S. 3633, introduced by Senate Environmental Justice Caucus co-chairs Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).
“I am encouraged by our bicameral effort to ensure continued access for environmental justice communities to the latest available federal environmental data,” said Congressman McEachin. “Since its creation, EJSCREEN has helped shine a light on the disproportionate environmental burdens faced by too many communities, and served as an important resource in our fight to protect those must vulnerable to pollution. With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on environmental justice communities, it is critical that we codify this tool to further transparency and collaboration in our work to achieve environmental justice.”
“EJSCREEN serves as a valuable tool in the fight for environmental justice. It empowers the public and the EPA with important data about pollution, race and income-levels in different communities. This data can be used to support community educational and grant programs in environmental justice communities. It helps us move towards solutions and needs to be maintained,” said Rep. Barragán.
“We cannot wait to act on environmental justice issues, and make no mistake – the COVID19 crisis is an environmental justice issue. Many frontline communities have long been exposed to air and water pollution, leaving them more vulnerable to chronic health conditions, lacking access to health care, and struggling to pay utility bills due to the scale of the income loss we are seeing in this crisis,” said Rep. Jayapal. “EJSCREEN is a critical tool to raise awareness, provide accurate resources and promote accountability for our communities and policymakers, which is why I am proud to introduce legislation that requires the EPA to ensure this tool includes current data and information for these communities and those who serve them.”
Based on national environmental and demographic data, EJSCREEN is an important tool to help identify and assist communities overburdened by pollution. H.R. 6826 codifies the EJSCREEN to ensure continued access to the EPA’s web-based environmental justice and screening tool.
The bicameral EJSCREEN legislation is included in the America’s Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2020, which was favorably reported by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on May 6, 2020.