WE ACT for Environmental Justice announces pilot city program to combat air pollution
The Justice40rward Pilot Cities program will push for historic levels of federal investment into communities battling air pollution.
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WE ACT for Environmental Justice is behind the new Justice40rward Pilot Cities program, a new effort to implement the Justice40 Initiative, which pushes for at least 40% of the benefits of certain federal programs go to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved and overburdened by pollution. The first pilot city selected for the program was Kansas City, home to CleanAirNow (CAN), which received $100,000 in funding.
The end goal of the new pilot city program is to score historic federal investment in marginalized communities against air pollution.
Dana Johnson, senior director of Strategy and Federal Policy for WE ACT for Environmental Justice, said:
We are thrilled to collaborate with CleanAirNow, and to recognize them for their efforts.
To be selected as a pilot city, organizations in cities must have one or two projects ready to receive funding.
Selected organizations must deepen relationships with elected officials and move to codify environmental justice bills into law, noting that the work and lessons learned will create a model and process to inform the development and creation of review boards accountability at the national level.
“This program creates accountability to maximize federal funding allocations, educates local and state officials about the Justice40 Initiative and adds needed capacity to community-based organizations to advance meaningful projects designed to address environmental justice directly,” added Johnson.
Get to know: Justice40ward
It is a community-led effort launched by the WE ACT for Environmental Justice to ensure transparency and collaboration between elected officials, municipalities and those living in disadvantaged communities that the effort was designed to support.
Join our friends at @brkfreeplastic for a Petrochemical Rules Teach In on Apr 13 @ 2pm to learn about @EPA’s proposed rules for #AirPollution from petrochemical plants & how you can help ensure they #ReduceEmissions in #EnvironmentalJustice communities: https://t.co/uCWF0CY60R pic.twitter.com/gsHEvLjq7N— WE ACT for EJ (@weact4ej) April 11, 2023
Billions of federal dollars in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, and other appropriations are available to address environmental injustices in communities, and stakeholders are invited to identify areas of collaboration to maximize impact.
“The environmental justice movement is shaping community-led solutions and policies: our communities cannot continue to be sacrifice zones. Justice40 is an opportunity to invest in disadvantaged communities; however, our Brown, Black, immigrant and Indigenous people need to oversee and guide the implementation to ensure transparency and accountability,” said Beto Lugo Martínez, executive director of CAN.
CAN is an environmental and climate justice organization that takes action to achieve systemic change in government and industry policies and practices to protect health and dismantle environmental racism and inequities that perpetuate the unequal distribution of environmental hazards across nearby communities.
“This looks like a just transition to zero-emission energy sources, affordable and sustainable housing, training and workforce development, remediation and reduction of legacy pollution, and the development of clean water and wastewater infrastructure that center solutions for overburdened communities” added Martínez.