My district is one of the most polluted districts in the nation, where the sight of refineries and urban oil wells next to homes and baseball fields are a common occurrence. Unfortunately, this is all too normal in communities of color, which routinely endure immense environmental injustices. It takes immense strength to fight polluted air and water in places where the contamination is profound and the injustices are deep.
Due to limited resources and lack of political power, communities of color are often where you will find industrial facilities and air and water contamination. Members of Congress, as well as environmental justice activists from all parts of the country, must unite to both increase awareness and pursue policy change.
A clean environment is about more than environmentalism. It’s about breathing in clean air and drinking uncontaminated water. It’s about new technologies and creating new jobs for the 21st century. Instead of risking the public health of the frontline communities across the country, we should be focused on transitioning to a clean energy economy by electrifying our transportation system and ramping up our use of renewables. We can’t have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness unless you also have environmental justice. These issues go to the core of who we are as a nation.