Nanette Diaz Barragán
Editor’s Note: California Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán gave the following remarks at a news conference denouncing the Trump Administration’s rollback of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) on July 15.
Black, Brown and Indigenous communities disproportionately suffer the health effects from environmental injustice. Across the country, our neighborhoods are closer to toxic polluters poisoning our air and water. It could be chemical manufacturing polluters in the south, pipelines threatening the water in communities across the Great Plains and middle of the country, or oil refineries, major ports, and freeway congestion poisoning the air and water in the neighborhoods in my Los Angeles-area district. When I go to a playground in my district, I almost always see children with asthma inhalers on a string around their necks.
Our communities are now hardest hit by COVID-19 and it has been more deadly among people of color, largely because of the respiratory damage caused by living near polluted environments.
When I go to a playground in my district, I almost always see children with asthma inhalers on a string around their necks.
We need the government to lift us up, not make us an afterthought in the decisions that will affect our neighborhoods and the health of our families. NEPA is a critical tool for civil rights, allowing public input in the decision-making process.
With today’s (July 15) Trump Administration rule, fossil fuel corporations will be able to ram harmful projects through without considering the pollution dangers to people in nearby neighborhoods.
NEPA gives vulnerable communities across the country an opportunity to make our voices heard and stop pollution in our own backyards.
President Trump’s is trying to rob us of our voice. We will not be silenced.
Last week, we saw how Indigenous and climate activists were able to stop two massive oil and gas pipelines that they were told were inevitable. We can look to them for hope. When we come together, we can be more powerful than the fossil fuel industry thinks.
Now the Trump Administration is trying to take away our ability to fight back. We will continue organizing. We will continue fighting. Not only to undo Trump’s rollback of NEPA, but to expand protections for our most vulnerable communities, fight climate change, and transition to a new economy that achieves racial and environmental justice for all people.
Nanette Diaz Barragán represents California’s 44th Congressional District.
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