All faith traditions, in some way, call us to care for our neighbors and honor our interdependence with the natural world. Our global extractive economies, the burning of fossil fuels for electricity and transportation, as well as the food production sectors are all pouring heat-trapping climate pollution into our atmosphere, damaging our climate, and hurting our most vulnerable neighbors. In addition, these polluting industries often have a cumulative impact, creating environmental justice concerns for the frontline communities targeted for these projects.
During the 2021 General Assembly, Virginia emerged as a leader in the region by passing several bills focused on water and energy justice. For water justice, Virginia formed the Onsite Sewage Indemnification Fund and Stormwater Local Assistance Fund; and, for energy justice, Virginia created the Virginia Brownfield and Coal Mine Renewable Energy Grant Fund and Program, and the Percentage of Income Payment Program and Fund. In the 2022 General Assembly, we will continue to prioritize environmental justice and support common-sense just legislation to strengthen laws protecting the health of all Virginia’s residents and the environment to maintain our quality of life. To that end, we support the following policy goals:
- Protect Virginia’s water resources, increase funding towards water infrastructure, and ensure all Virginians have access to safe and healthy water
- Strengthen environmental justice statewide by determining cummulative environmetnal impacts and codifying an interagency working group among localities and municipalities
- Commit to solar and renewable energy by increasing their budgets and ensuring all Virginians have access to affordable energy
- Support the reduction of greenhouse gases in the transportation sector and advocate for increased autonomy of transit riders