June 27, 2022

At the Birthplace of the Environmental Justice Movement, Duckworth Continues Push for Clean Air, Water and Land for All


[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator and co-founder of the U.S. Senate Environmental Justice Caucus Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today joined local advocates and public officials on a tour of the birthplace of the environmental justice movement, Chicago’s Altgeld Gardens. After touring the neighborhood and discussing its legacy in the environmental justice movement, Duckworth hosted a forum with community groups to discuss her comprehensive Environmental Justice for All Act, which focuses on achieving health equity and climate justice for all, particularly underserved communities and communities of color that have long been harmed by environmental injustices and the cumulative impacts of toxic pollutants. Duckworth was joined by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 Administrator Deb Shore, U.S. Representative Robin Kelly (D-02), People for Community Recovery officials Cheryl Johnson and Courtney Hansen and Neighbors 4 EJ official Myrna Romo. Photos from today’s events are available here.

“I want to emphasize how simple this is: no one should have to drink brown water, breathe contaminated air or worry about pollution’s impact on their family’s health,” Duckworth said. “Today’s tour and meeting were opportunities to recognize the lives impacted by environmental injustice and meet with activists who are working to protect their communities. I was proud to discuss my Environmental Justice for All Act today, which was written with Black, Brown and underserved communities to create a more equitable future. As co-founder of the Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus, I’ll keep pressing environmental justice in Washington because all Americans deserve clean air, water and land regardless of their zip code, the size of their wallet or the color of their skin.”

After the tour, the forum was hosted at the Southeast Environmental Task Force office on the far South East Side, and included representatives from People for Community Recovery, Neighbors for Environmental Justice, Blacks in Green, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and more.

Duckworth has been committed to helping ensure more Americans have safer air and water in their communities. Last March, the Senator introduced the Environmental Justice for All Act, sweeping legislation that would strengthen the Civil Rights Act by prohibiting discrimination based on disparate impacts and explicitly adds cumulative impacts in permitting decisions under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.

This March, several of her key environmental priorities became law in the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Omnibus appropriations package, including cleaning up hazardous waste sites and tackling contaminated properties by investing in the EPA’s Superfund program and brownfield grants and addressing the disproportionate impacts of pollution on communities of color and low-income communities by expanding funding for environmental justice programs at EPA.

In April, Duckworth, who is also the Chair of the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water and Wildlife, led a subcommittee field hearing in Chicago on the implementation of her Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (DWWIA) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Last year, President Biden signed the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal into law that included Duckworth’s entire DWWIA, which would help rebuild our nation’s crumbling and dangerous water infrastructure. As a result of her leadership, Illinois—which contains the most known lead service lines of any state in the nation—will be able to dramatically accelerate projects to remove dangerous lead pipes and protect countless children against permanent, irreversible brain damage from drinking lead-contaminated water.