WASHINGTON—Today, the House of Representatives passed two of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s (MI-13) environmental justice amendments to the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act (H.R. 4447), although she ultimately opposed the final passage of the bill for failing to offer a plan to curtail fossil fuel production. The first amendment, #169, which the Congresswoman worked with House leaders to develop and co-led with Congresswomen Deb Haaland (NM-01) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), increases authorizations for renewable energy research and development accounts by 50%, ensuring that the bill invests more in renewable energy research and development than in fossil fuel research and development. The second of the two environmental justice amendments, #167, requires the Environmental Health Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a study to evaluate the disparate health impacts of fossil fuel emissions on minority and low and moderate income communities and to issue a summary of their findings to Congress.
“These amendments are my way of bringing the needs of the residents of Michigan’s 13th District to the table and saying: They cannot afford to wait for meaningful action on the air pollution they’ve had to suffer for generations,” said Congresswoman Tlaib. “And they really cannot afford to wait. I’m thankful to my House colleagues for passing these two amendments, which ultimately improved a bill that was fundamentally flawed.”
“The bottom line is we cannot invest billions of dollars in technologies that will extend our country’s reliance on fossil fuels further into the future, yet H.R. 4447 does that despite my office’s best efforts—and the efforts of my colleagues and grassroots organizations across the country—to remove the problematic provisions. Although it also included important environmental justice protections, the communities that I represent, including my neighbors in 48217, one of the most polluted zip codes in the state of Michigan, are relying on me to fight like hell against any new government investments in dirty energy sources. They understand that we need to be leading with transformative policies that truly address the climate crisis, guarantee clean air and water, and save our planet. While I was proud to fight to make it better, the bill still fails to meet the urgent needs of the moment. I am grateful to my 17 colleagues who joined in opposing this legislation,” Tlaib continued.
Tlaib and her 17 colleagues aren’t alone in their opposition to the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act —yesterday, a group of 100-plus environmental justice organizations—including Food & Water Action, Climate Justice Alliance, Friends of the Earth, Sunrise Movement, Public Citizen, 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, GreenLatinos, League of Women Voters, Breast Cancer Action, Center for Biological Diversity, People’s Action, Endangered Species Coalition, Oil Change, Global Witness, GreenFaith, Seeding Sovereignty and Zero Hour—sent a letter to House members opposing it, insisting on a more ambitious environmental justice strategy that supports a just and equitable transition to clean renewable energy.