March 25, 2022

Duckworth Underscores Her Commitment to Clean Air and Water for All with Regional EPA and NRDC Leadership and Local Activists


[CHICAGO, IL] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), co-founder and co-chair of the Senate’s Environmental Justice Caucus, today met with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 officials, including Region 5 Director Deb Shore, as well as leadership from the Natural Resources Defense Council and five Chicagoland environmental justice organizations. During the meeting, Duckworth highlighted several of her initiatives to help protect the health, water and air of working communities and Black, Brown and Indigenous Americans in the face of systemic environmental injustice. Duckworth also heard directly from the regional leaders on their advocacy for healthier environments for working families as well as Illinoisans of color and ways she can continue to help on a federal level. Duckworth is also Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Fisheries, Water and Wildlife Subcommittee. Photos of today’s meeting are available here.

“From advocating for safer and improved water infrastructure across our nation to aiding in the transition to cleaner energy, environmental justice has been one of my top priorities in the Senate,” Duckworth said. “It’s simple—no toddler should have to drink brown water out of a sippy cup, no one should choke on contaminated air or worry about pollution’s impact on their family’s health. I’m proud of the work EPA Region 5, NRDC and these organizers are doing to help protect Chicagoland communities, and I’ll keep pressing this cause in Washington because all Americans deserve clean air, water and land.”

Duckworth has been committed to helping ensure more Americans have safer air and water in their communities. Several of her key environmental priorities are set to become law when President Biden signs the Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) Omnibus appropriations bill that the Senate passed earlier this month, 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 November, President Biden signed the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal into law that included Duckworth’s entire Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act (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.

Last March, the Senator introduced the Environmental Justice for All Act, comprehensive legislation to achieve health equity and climate justice for all, particularly the cumulative impacts on underserved communities and communities of color that have long been disproportionately harmed by environmental injustices and toxic pollutants.