ICYMI: House-Passed Omnibus Includes EJ Air Quality Monitoring Initiative Championed By Castor, Blunt-Rochester, Torres
WASHINGTON - On Thursday, Chair Kathy Castor of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, and Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York released the following statements after the House of Representatives voted to pass its FY2022 omnibus appropriations package:
“Solving the climate crisis and ensuring clean air in vulnerable communities go hand in hand,” said Chair Castor. “That’s why I’m proud to announce the House-passed omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2022 will advance the goals in my Environmental Justice Air Quality Monitoring Act, which I introduced earlier this year with Rep. Blunt Rochester and Rep. Ritchie Torres. Recognizing that we must empower local communities to tackle air pollution block-by-block, the budget report urges the Environmental Protection Agency to prioritize community air quality monitoring systems, so we can identify hotspots in specific communities. It also encourages EPA to use this information to provide regularly-updated data to overburdened and marginalized communities. I look forward to working with EPA on the implementation of these crucial measures.”
“One of the most fundamental obligations of government is ensuring that all citizens can rest assured knowing that the air they breathe is clean,” said Rep. Blunt Rochester. “That’s why, along with my colleagues, Chair Castor and Rep. Ritchie Torres, we introduced the Environmental Justice Air Quality Monitoring Act, and it’s why I’m so pleased that the goals of our bill are being advanced through the appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2022. The whole concept of our bill is providing transparent and timely local data to overburdened communities – and that’s exactly what this year’s budget will encourage the EPA to do. I look forward to working with the administration to ensure that we fulfill that fundamental obligation of ensuring that every American, regardless of zip code, has peace of mind that they’re breathing clean air.”
“Plagued by decades of air pollution from hazardous development, my district in the South Bronx suffers rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases that are over twice as high as the rest of New York City,” said Rep. Torres. “I know the dangers of poor air quality firsthand. Like many children in the Bronx, I was hospitalized for asthma when I was growing up. Communities of color and low-income Americans have been especially burdened by air pollution, and it is clear we must prioritize their health and safety and address these disparities head on. I’m proud that the budget for Fiscal Year 2022 places environmental justice and public health hand-in-hand by advancing the goals of the Environmental Justice Air Quality Monitoring Act that Chair Castor, Rep. Blunt Rochester, and I introduced this year. I look forward to working with the EPA to alleviate the burdens of hazardous air pollution on our most vulnerable communities.”
- Press release: Reps. Castor, Blunt Rochester, and Torres Introduce Environmental Justice Legislation to Address Air Quality in Underserved Communities (February 18, 2022)
- In June of 2020, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Democrats released the majority staff report Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America. This report provides a roadmap for Congress—a Climate Crisis Action Plan—to build a prosperous, clean energy economy that values workers, advances environmental justice, and is prepared to meet the challenges of the climate crisis.
- House Democrats have already passed more than 375 of the recommendations in the Climate Crisis Action Plan, and have successfully worked to turn over 200 of them into law.