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Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán

Representing the 44th District of California

Rep. Barragán statement on Environmental Justice 101 roundtable

November 3, 2017
Press Release

For immediate release

Contact: Dave Perera
 (202) 770-7899
dave.perera@mail.house.gov

Rep. Barragán statement on Environmental Justice 101 roundtable

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-San Pedro) hosted a roundtable titled “Environmental Justice 101: A Panel Discussion on Environmental Justice and Its Impacts on Communities of Color” as part of her work chairing the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Clean Energy, Environment, Public Lands, and Water. The discussion was livestreamed and is still available for viewing.

Rep. Barragán issued the following statement about the roundtable:

“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.

Today we were able to bring environmental justice leaders from GreenLatinos, the Hip Hop Caucus and experts from Georgetown University and the Congressional Research Service to educate and facilitate a discussion with members of Congress and staff about how we can address these critical issues. As Mark Magaña of GreenLatinos noted, 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. What we heard today was that the only way to truly address these issues is that 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.

And I agree with Mustafa Santiago Ali of the Hip Hop Caucus: 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.

Thank you again to the panelists who made the discussion so interesting. This is just the first in a series of round tables I’ll be holding. I look forward to exploring this topic further in more discussions like today’s.”

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Rep. Barragán is Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on the Environment and the Congressional Progressive Caucus Energy and Environment Taskforce. She co-chairs the United for Climate and Environmental Justice Congressional Task Force to address the disproportionate environmental impact on communities of color, low-income families, and other marginalized groups. She represents California's 44th Congressional District, home to one of the most heavily polluted districts in the country