October 08, 2020

Duckworth Discusses Environmental Justice & Climate Crisis with the Coalition for Clean Energy & Healthy Communities


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), co-founder of the Senate’s first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus, today spoke with members of the Coalition for Clean Energy & Healthy Communities in a virtual roundtable moderated by EarthJustice President Abbie Dillen. Duckworth spoke about her efforts to promote clean energy and how addressing the climate crisis and pushing for environmental justice will help ensure more equitable outcomes for all Americans, including those in low-income communities and communities of color. 

“Communities of color face public health challenges like exposure to toxic pollutants—which also make them more susceptible to the effects of the deadly COVID-19 virus—at alarming rates while too many in power look the other way,” Duckworth said. “I’m glad I had this opportunity to speak with members of the Coalition for Clean Energy & Healthy Communities about how we can work together help make sure that every American is able to breathe safe air, drink clean water and live on uncontaminated land, regardless of their zip code, the size of their wallet or the color of their skin.”

Duckworth co-founded the Environmental Justice Caucus, in April of last year 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. The caucus seeks to help those communities advocate for themselves with the federal government by providing expertise and assistance, generating legislation and organizing hearings and events. Duckworth brought Illinois-based environmental justice advocate Celeste Flores as her guest to this year’s State of the Union.

This past May, Duckworth secured several key environmental justice wins in the America’s Wastewater Infrastructure Act of 2020 and the Drinking Water Infrastructure Act of 2020 to ensure that the benefits of water infrastructure improvements are felt equitably across the country. Duckworth also joined her colleagues in introducing a bill to help communities combat per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination and exposure in drinking water and groundwater in March of this year. In November of last year, Duckworth led a hearing about maintaining state’s authorities to protect their waterways and wrote an op-ed on the importance of protecting the Clean Water Act.

The Coalition for Clean Energy & Healthy Communities launched in June 2020 and is composed of dozens of environmental justice, faith, public health and community organizations that believe all Americans deserve to live in safe and healthy communities powered by clean energy. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coalition is advocating for a federal stimulus package that includes resources that will help rebuild the economy, create jobs, protect public health and the environment and advance justice. Representatives from environmental, public health and faith-based organizations joined today’s roundtable.