September 14, 2019

Duckworth Calls for Environmental Justice at Chicago’s Faith in Place Green Team Summit


 [CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), a founding member of the Senate’s Environmental Justice Caucus, today spoke with faith leaders from across Illinois about how the faith community can best address environmental injustice and inequality across Illinois and the nation. Duckworth’s remarks were delivered at the Faith in Place Green Team Summit 2019 during a session led by Reverend Scott Onque. Photos from today’s event are available here.

“In countless lines of scripture, the notion of faith is synonymous with action, and achieving justice isn’t a matter of luck or happenstance, but it takes effort and willingness to call out wrongs and strive for what’s right,” Duckworth said. “No father should worry about the air his child is breathing on the way to school, and no mother should have to hold a bottle full of brown water up to her baby’s lips. This is a matter of health and safety. It’s is a matter of systemic racism and of discrimination against those in poorer neighborhoods. It’s a matter of justice—and it’s a matter of faith.”

Earlier this year, Duckworth, U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tom Carper (D-DE) created the Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus to raise awareness of the many environmental and pollution issues that have created public health challenges, which disproportionately impact low income communities and communities of color, including lead poisoning. This week, Duckworth introduced the Low Income Solar Energy Act to bolster our nation’s clean energy sector by helping low income Americans use solar energy, legislation of which Faith in Place is a supporter.

Duckworth has been a strong advocate for environmental justice in the Chicago area, working against EtO emissions in Lake County, repeatedly calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct EtO emissions testing, though it has failed to do so, and meeting with local advocates. Duckworth has also worked to protect families on Chicago’s Southeast side from unsafe levels of manganese, demanding the EPA take action and stop Watco Transloading, a company on the Southeast Side of Chicago, from continuing to release unsafe levels of manganese into the air in violation of the Clean Air Act and to hold Watco accountable.

Faith in Place was founded in 1999 as a project of the Center for Neighborhood Technology to gather religious leaders in the Chicago region and Central Illinois in dialogue, prayer and action on issues of environmental sustainability.