AOC and Kamala Harris joined forces for a climate change bill that benefits low-income communities
Low-income communities are among those that have been hit the hardest by climate change and environmental problems. Toxins from pollution disproportionately affect black and Latinx communities, and in one particularly egregious example, Flint, Michigan, went years without clean water. Now, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has joined forces with Senator Kamala Harris to create the Climate Equity Act, a bill that would ensure that climate change legislation benefits these vulnerable populations.
According to The New York Times, the bill would rate any environmental legislation or regulation based on how it would affect disadvantaged communities. It would also create an Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Accountability to advocate for these communities, and it would place a senior adviser on climate change in “all relevant agencies.”
"One of the tenets of the Green New Deal is prioritizing vulnerable communities," Ocasio-Cortez told the Times. "We have to talk about Flint. We have to talk about West Virginia. We have to talk about the Bronx and we have to talk about the ways climate change manifests in our lives."
A press release from Harris’s office stated that the Climate Equity Act aims to protect communities “that have experienced systemic socioeconomic disparities, environmental racism, and other forms of injustice, including low-income communities, indigenous peoples, and communities of color.”
"Climate change is an existential threat—it’s critical we act now to achieve a cleaner, safer, and healthier future. But it is not enough to simply cut emissions and end our reliance on fossil fuels. We must ensure that communities already contending with unsafe drinking water, toxic air, and lack of economic opportunity are not left behind," Harris said in the release. "We need a Green New Deal based in climate and environmental justice, which means building a clean economy that protects communities that have been neglected by policymakers for far too long. I’m proud to work with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez on this comprehensive proposal, and I’m hopeful that it brings a Green New Deal closer to reality."
Fighting climate change is urgent, but at the same time, we need to make sure that low-income communities are protected, too. We’re glad to see Harris and Ocasio-Cortez taking steps to make that happen. To learn more about the Climate Equity Act, visit Harris’s website.