June 04, 2020

Duckworth, Co-Chair of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus, Condemns President Trump’s Move to Waive Public Health Laws Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, National Unrest Due to Racial Injustice


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), co-founder of the Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus, released a statement in response to Trump’s misguided Executive Order that will put communities at risk:

The COVID-19 pandemic is shining a bright yet disheartening light on the unfair cumulative impacts pollution has on low income communities and communities of color, many of which are made worse by lack of access to healthcare. Illinoisans—and Americans across the country—are alarmed by growing evidence that high levels of air pollution in minority and low-income communities can make pre-existing conditions that result in COVID-19 complications worse, as well as growing evidence that long-term exposure to air pollution is a large contributing factor to an increase in fatalities in these communities.

“While these realities should compel our leaders to do everything in their power to protect Americans, Donald Trump is doing the exact opposite. By waiving environmental review for infrastructure projects that often occur in environmental justice communities with too few resources and too quiet a voice in many halls of power, Trump is taking away one of the last opportunities these Americans have to keep themselves and their families safe. At a time when our nation is reckoning with generations of racial injustice and inequality, this decision is yet another proof-point that Donald Trump is more focused on dividing than uniting—and more focused on protecting profits over people. As a co-founder of the Environmental Justice Caucus, I will work with likeminded colleagues to reverse it.”