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Press Release AG Healey Calls on Congress to Prioritize Funding for Programs to Address the Climate Crisis and Environmental Justice

Coalition Calls for the Inclusion of Clean Energy, Water, Air, and Climate Change Initiatives in Congressional Reconciliation Bill
For immediate release:
9/14/2021
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for AG Healey Calls on Congress to Prioritize Funding for Programs to Address the Climate Crisis and Environmental Justice

Chloe Gotsis

BOSTON Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today joined a coalition of 20 attorneys general in urging Congress to respond to the climate crisis and advance environmental justice by allocating funding in the upcoming reconciliation bill to programs that combat pollution, improve water and air quality, and promote clean energy.

“For decades, there’s been a lack of decisive national action on climate change and a failure to enact policies that protect our communities of color, immigrant communities, and families with low incomes from climate and other environmental harms, forcing them to breathe dirty air and drink dirty water,” AG Healey said. “Congress must help us undo these longstanding injustices by including funding in the budget reconciliation bill that helps fight the climate crisis, transforms our economy with clean energy and jobs, and delivers solutions that promote environmental justice.”

The letter, sent today to Congressional leadership, calls for funding to support the necessary rapid transition to a clean energy economy, address climate change, and remediate the environmental injustices faced by low-income and immigrant communities, communities of color, and Tribal and indigenous communities.

The climate crisis is affecting communities across the country, as witnessed by the record heat waves, catastrophic storms, and wildfires experienced this summer. And too often, low-income and immigrant communities, communities of color and Tribal and indigenous communities are denied equal access to clean air, clean water, and a safe and healthy environment and are forced to endure disproportionate burdens of pollution, climate change, and the health risks associated with environmental harm.

The coalition recommends specific measures to respond to the climate emergency, and address its longstanding unequal impact on marginalized and underserved communities:

  • Transformative investments in clean energy, including enacting the Clean Energy Payment Program, a measure that provides financial incentives to utilities that support clean energy projects;
  • Increasing access to clean energy through tax credits and other support;
  • Accelerating the electrification of transportation;
  • Addressing pollution of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas;
  • Funding energy efficiency programs for schools and affordable housing;
  • Investing in an equitable transition of fossil fuel personnel and facilities to renewable energy purposes;
  • Investing in air quality monitoring in at-risk communities;
  • Supporting programs that advance workforce development, pollution reduction, and improve public health; and
  • Investing in clean drinking water infrastructure, including by providing adequate funding to ensure that all lead service lines are replaced and drinking water is protected from dangerous chemicals like PFAS.

Finally, the coalition urges Congress to ensure that 40 percent of improvements funded by the budget reconciliation bill benefit disadvantaged communities. This will help the Biden Administration deliver on its Justice40 Initiative, a promise to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits from federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.

Joining AG Healey in sending the letter are the attorneys general of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Maine, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.

 

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Media Contact for AG Healey Calls on Congress to Prioritize Funding for Programs to Address the Climate Crisis and Environmental Justice

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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