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Nessel, coalition urging Congress to prioritize funding to address climate crisis, environmental injustice

Nessel’s office stressed that all Americans deserve equals right to clean air, clean water, and a safe and healthy environment.
Nessel, coalition urging Congress to prioritize funding to address climate crisis,...
Nessel, coalition urging Congress to prioritize funding to address climate crisis, environmental injustice
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 12:01 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a coalition of 19 other attorneys general in urging Congress to respond to the climate crisis and accelerate environmental justice through funding critical programs in budget reconciliation legislation.

In a letter to Democratic Congressional leaders, the coalition calls for Congress to pass infrastructure legislation and to allocate funding in the impending reconciliation bill that addresses the rapid transition to a clean energy economy, climate change, and the environmental injustices faced by low-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal and indigenous communities.

Congress is being urged by the coalition to fund actions that will considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thus hindering harm by more drastic climate change and confront longstanding environmental injustice.

“We must address our nation’s climate crisis in an urgent and equitable manner,” Nessel said. “I proudly join my colleagues in calling on Congress to invest in fighting climate change and advancing environmental justice.”

Nessel’s office stressed that all Americans deserve equals right to clean air, clean water, and a safe and healthy environment. Still, low-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal and indigenous communities are too often denied those rights, suffering through disproportionate burdens of pollution, climate change, or other grave health and environmental damage. Those harms are becoming more severe, as witnessed by the catastrophic storms and wildfires experienced in the summer of 2021.

The coalition argues that Congress should address the climate emergency by prioritizing investment in certain areas. While widely valuable to bettering the lives of all Americans, the areas are critical steps in ending the habit of inequity that afflicts marginalized and underserved communities:

  • Ensure substantial additional funding to reduce climate change pollution at its source and foster climate resilience;
  • Improve critical water quality and drinking water services, including providing adequate funding to ensure that all lead service lines are replaced;
  • Invest in air quality monitoring in at-risk communities;
  • Address methane pollution;
  • Increase access to and investment in clean energy, including enacting the proposed Clean Energy Payment Program;
  • Fund energy efficiency programs for schools and affordable housing;
  • Accelerate the electrification of transportation and goods movement; and
  • Support programs that advance workforce development and pollution reduction and improve the health of our communities.

The coalition contends that in order for the Biden Administration to deliver on its Justice40 promise, Congress must ensure that 40% of improvements funded through the budget reconciliation bill help impoverished communities.

Joining Nessel in sending this letter are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the coalition’s 14-page letter can be viewed here.

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