March 02, 2021

Duckworth Highlights Need for Environmental Justice at Cahokia Heights Roundtable


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today joined state and local leaders to discuss the ongoing environmental justice issues in Cahokia Heights, Illinois, with residents. Duckworth, chair and co-founder of the U.S. Senate Environmental Justice Caucus and member of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, today also sent a letter of support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) to support Cahokia Sewer Water District’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant application, which would provide federal funding to repair the failing water system.

“No one should be forced to live with a public health crisis in their backyard, no matter their zip code, the color of their skin or how much money they make,” Duckworth said. “The problems we’re seeing in Centreville—now part of Cahokia Heights—are some of the reasons why I started the Environmental Justice Caucus in the Senate. It’s time we shed light on the injustice facing so many communities of color and address these issues of environmental racism. It is also a glaring example of the critical need for federal investments in our aging water infrastructure, especially in these struggling communities. I’m working to bring federal funding into Cahokia Heights to help address these ongoing water and sewage issues, and I’ll keep doing what I can to help this community.”

Duckworth was joined on tonight’s panel by representatives from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Department of Natural Resources, as well as local activists to discuss how to enact change both on the ground and through all levels of government. Cahokia Heights is the newly-formed municipality comprising the former Cahokia, Centreville and Alorton. Years of neglect have led to continued storm water flooding and sanitary sewage issues for Centreville residents.

Duckworth has been a strong advocate for bringing environmental justice to Centreville, calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct enhanced monitoring and enforcement of the area, as well as sampling of Centreville’s drinking water to better assess health risks. Duckworth has also visited Centreville and met with local residents who have been impacted by the persistent inland flooding and the environmental justice issues the community faces.