Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson are visiting communities most ravaged by environmental degradation and pollution.
The Environmental Justice Tour is designed to highlight environmental justice challenges faced by Americans in all communities and includes stops in South Carolina, Maryland and Georgia.
Last week, Mississippi was the first stop on the tour, with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) hosting a roundtable discussion with regional mayors and tour a local water treatment plant are slated. The Mississippi stop also included an Environmental Justice Conference at Jackson State University with the participation of community leaders, elected officials, students and religious leaders.
“The consequences of global climate change, disastrous trends of environmental degradation, and our nation’s perilous dependence on fossil fuels are being felt in communities here in the United States and around the world, especially in communities of color,” said Lee. “As our nation moves forward to address the environmental injustices and health impacts of climate change, and seeks to develop responsible solutions for our energy crisis through the establishment of green businesses, jobs and job training, African-American communities must have increased access to opportunities in our ever-evolving green economy.”
“Environmental justice is a priority for EPA and must be part of every action we take. I’m proud to join Representative Lee and members of the Congressional Black Caucus in taking that message directly to our communities,” said Jackson of the EPA. “By meeting people where they are and talking to them about the challenges they face, we can broadly expand the conversation on environmentalism. Instead of being left further behind, these communities can begin work on solutions to improve their health, the environment and the economy.”