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Activists Recommend Executive Actions on Race, Climate & Pollution Inequities

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115 Groups Sign Presidential Policy Agenda Recommending Executive Actions on Race, Climate & Pollution

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MoveOn, Greenpeace, Sunrise Movement, 350.org, Hip Hop Caucus, Working Family Party among Signers

A Call For An Executive Action To Address The Systemic Inequalities Of Pollution And Climate Crisis

New York, NY - Today, a broad coalition of 115 climate and progressive groups across the country join Demos, a national progressive think tank, in calling for comprehensive Executive Action to address the systemic inequalities of pollution and the climate crisis.

A copy of the policy memorandum is available at: demos.org/frontlines-climate-justice.

“In the face of continued crises of police violence, a global pandemic, and economic collapse, one lesson is clear: Black and brown communities are consistently marginalized and subjected to chronic and deadly inequities, so long as they remain excluded from public investment and decision-making power. The looming climate crisis raises the same stakes: it is Black and brown communities who are already bearing the brunt of the costs of our climate crisis—and these are the communities whose voices and needs are consistently ignored,” said K. Sabeel Rahman, President of Demos.

“Built in deep collaboration with the grassroots movement signatories, this Frontlines Climate Justice Executive Action Platform provides urgently needed, actionable policies that a new administration must implement in order to ensure that we meet the challenge of climate change by dismantling environmental racism, and centering the needs and voices of the communities most affected,” Rahman added.

Addressing Environmental Inequities And The Climate Crisis

The platform identifies the path to immediately addressing environmental inequities and the climate crisis through regulatory and administrative actions an administration can take without Congress. The policy platform planks include:

  1. No Hotspots Rule. By Executive Order, direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish rules and implement a No Hotspots Policy for reducing and avoiding local pollution and pollution disparities caused, worsened, or left unaddressed by climate and criteria pollutant mitigation policies.
  2. Climate Equity Accountability and Enhanced Stakeholder Review. By Executive Order, establish and institutionalize a Climate Equity Accountability System, based in the Office of Management and Budget, to require equity assessments of proposed climate and energy rules and programmatic investments; and by the same E.O., require that proposed rules and programmatic investments are subject to enhanced review and modification by frontline stakeholders.
  3. Native Sovereignty for an Indigenous Just Transition. By Executive Order or other directive, institutionalize strong federal standards and procedural requirements of federal agencies respecting self-determination and consent of tribal nations. Significant federal actions affecting tribal lands, livelihoods, and cultures should be held to a stringent decision-making standard of negotiated tribal consent.
  4. Public and Community Power. By Executive Order, establish and empower a Presidential Commission on Energy Democracy and Renewable Energy Futures. The commission will collaborate with frontline stakeholders to develop a national blueprint for public and community control of a clean, renewably-sourced, and more resilient energy system.

The Deadly Intersections Of Racism, Pollution, And Poverty

"This is the year of truth, and the truth is the COVID-19 pandemic has made plain the deadly intersections of racism, pollution, and poverty, and poor leadership. The position of the President of the United States has tremendous power to enact real action that protects people equitably, ensuring the most vulnerable are prioritized, and that can slow ecological disaster that harms us all. We are beyond fighting for equality, we’re fighting for existence. The next President must lead with absolute urgency,” said Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., President & Founder of Hip Hop Caucus.

“The President has the power to move us forward to a society where we are closer to achieving true environmental and climate justice. This platform provides a well-researched and legally sound roadmap for some of the Executive Actions that will get us there, and should be implemented as soon as possible,” said Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash  .

"People across the country are rising up to confront the interwoven crises of climate change, racial injustice, and COVID-19. They deserve an ally in the White House who is going to fight alongside them in advancing the transformational policies outlined in this platform. We must not tolerate anyone who will exploit a pandemic to further a racist, pro-polluter agenda, one that bails out oil CEOs and corporate polluters while Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities remain under attack. Our next president must reject an economy that profits off destruction in favor of one that puts the people and planet first," said Vijay Das, Greenpeace USA's Climate Leadership Project Lead.

"This platform speaks to the climate movement's commitment to justice and equity. We are holding fast to our demand for the next President to take immediate and transformative action. The compound crises of COVID-19, racial injustice, and climate change are being paid for in struggle throughout the lives and livelihoods of Black and Indigenous Peoples, and poor families on every frontline, many of whom are already surviving on mutual aid, and a unified demand that democracy delivers. From a responsive civil structure and executive, to federal agencies that provide resources and empower the people, we demand the next President commits to end fossil fuels, hold polluters accountable, and stand up for climate justice and human rights." - Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, 350.org North America Director.

Read the full list of signatories here.

About Demos

Demos is a dynamic “think-and-do” tank that powers the movement for a just, inclusive, multiracial democracy. Through cutting-edge policy research, inspiring litigation and deep relationships with grassroots organizations, Demos champions solutions that will create a democracy and economy rooted in racial equity. Our name means “the people.” It is the root word of democracy, and it reminds us that in America, the true source of our greatness is the diversity of our people.

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