Anna Sheffer
Updated July 30, 2019

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.”

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.”

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.