Many communities across Virginia continue to suffer from the toxins of fossil fuel pollution, sea level rise, flooding, extreme heat, and the burden of increasing utility bills and shutoffs. While most of our advocacy is state level, we also advocate at the federal level to alleviate these inequities across Virginia.
We support the following federal policies as steps toward addressing these inequities:
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a historic investment that will encourage clean energy, electrification, resilience, and building efficiency. VAIPL has supported this monumental bill since its introduction as the Build Back Better Bill. We are grateful for the $3 billion in environmental justice block grants and $1 billion for public housing efficiency improvements from the IRA.
The IRA also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative. Justice40 requires 40% of the benefits of all climate and clean energy investments to be spent in disadvantaged communities. Hundreds of federal programs, including those established by the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure and Investment Act, representing historic investments, are being reimagined and transformed to meet the Justice40 goal and maximize benefits to disadvantaged communities.
This represents a meaningful shift towards adequately resourcing climate justice and will positively affect many communities VAIPL works among. Another federal policy that helps advance environmental justice and address our community’s inequities is the A. Donald. McEachin Environmental Justice for All Act (EJ4ALL).
The EJ4All Act sets the tone and trajectory for fair and just treatment of individuals and communities. Among other things, it establishes the right to seek lawful action when faced with environmental racism. It also defines and requires consideration of the cumulative impacts of polluting projects in permitting under the clean water and air acts.
To make this a reality, please get in touch with your representative to co-sponsor this act! Before you contact your representative, please check to see if your representative is already sponsoring the act here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/1705/cosponsors. You can find who your representatives are here: https://www.congress.gov/members/find-your-member.