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The A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice For All Act
The A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice For All Act
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The A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice For All Act: Combating Environmental Injustice in the US

Environmental justice entails equitable treatment and active engagement of all individuals, irrespective of race, color, national origin, or income, in matters concerning the development, execution, and enforcement of environmental regulations and policies.

Nevertheless, numerous communities across the United States have been disproportionately subjected to environmental hazards and pollution, leading to detrimental health and societal consequences.

These communities are frequently characterized by low income, minority status, indigenous heritage, or rural locations, which often limit their access to political and economic influence.

To address this pressing concern, a coalition of lawmakers spearheaded by:

  1. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
  2. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).
  3. Representative Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ)
The A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice For All Act
The A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice For All Act | Photo courtesy | Twitter


Introduced the A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice For All Act in March 2023.

Named after the late Representative A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), a staunch advocate for environmental justice who co-authored the initial iteration of the legislation in 2020, the bill aims to fortify the legal safeguards and remedies for communities affected by environmental injustices.

Additionally, it strives to amplify public participation and transparency in environmental decision-making processes while advancing health equity and climate justice.

Key Elements of the A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice For All Act

This legislative proposal encompasses several pivotal aspects designed to advance environmental justice within the United States:

  1. Amending and strengthening Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to bar discrimination based on disparate impact and overturn the Supreme Court’s Alexander v. Sandoval ruling, thereby granting private citizens, residents, and organizations the capacity to seek legal recourse when confronted with discriminatory practices.
  2. Requiring an assessment of cumulative impacts in permitting determinations under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. This provision ensures that permits will not be granted if the project cannot establish a reasonable assurance of no harm to human health.
  3. Codifying and reinforcing President Clinton’s 1994 Executive Order on environmental justice, which mandates federal agencies to formulate environmental justice strategies and routinely report on their execution and progress. The bill further guarantees the inclusion of diverse communities in public health research, data collection, and analysis.
  4. Mandating federal agencies to offer early and meaningful engagement opportunities to communities impacted by environmental justice concerns under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The bill also emphasizes comprehensive Tribal representation throughout the NEPA process for activities potentially affecting Indian Tribes, encompassing those involving off-reservation lands and sacred sites.
  5. Allocating resources for research grant programs aimed at investigating personal and childcare products containing chemicals associated with detrimental health effects. Additionally, the bill supports research to identify safer alternatives for cosmetic products marketed primarily to women and girls of color. It further necessitates accurate labeling of professional cosmetic products and menstrual items.

Support and Opposition for the A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice For All Act

Various environmental organizations, civil rights groups, labor unions, faith leaders, public health advocates, and grassroots activists have rallied behind the bill.

Prominent supporters include:

  1. the National Wildlife Federation.
  2. NAACP.
  3. Earthjustice.
  4. Greenpeace USA.
  5. Sierra Club.
  6. United Steelworkers.
  7. Union of Concerned Scientists.
  8. Physicians for Social Responsibility.
  9. Interfaith Power & Light.
  10. GreenLatinos.
  11. WE ACT for Environmental Justice.
  12. Center for American Progress.

Supporters contend that the bill presents a comprehensive and inclusive strategy to rectify entrenched environmental injustices that have detrimentally affected numerous Americans, particularly individuals of color and those residing in low-income communities.

They argue that the bill will ensure universal participation in environmental decision-making, access to unpolluted air and water, protection from hazardous chemicals, and opportunities for an equitable transition toward a clean energy economy.

Conversely, the bill has encountered opposition from certain industry associations, conservative think tanks, and Republican legislators.

Detractors encompass the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), among others.

Opponents contend that the bill embodies a radical and costly agenda that could undermine economic growth, energy security, property rights, and state sovereignty.

They assert that the legislation would impose cumbersome regulations on businesses, heighten litigation risks, sow uncertainty for infrastructure initiatives, curtail consumer choice, and elevate energy prices.


The A. Donald McEachin Environmental Justice For All Act represents a landmark legislative endeavor aimed at addressing the longstanding environmental injustices that have afflicted numerous U.S. communities.

The bill’s multifaceted provisions seek to enhance the legal safeguards and remedies available to environmental justice communities, augment transparency and public involvement in environmental decision-making, and advance equity in health and climate matters.

While the legislation has garnered support from advocates of environmental justice, it has also encountered opposition from industry groups and conservative lawmakers who challenge its environmental and social goals.

Currently pending in both the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee, the bill awaits further legislative action

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