Green Acton supports the Environmental Justice Bill

At our December 2017 meeting, Green Acton signed on to the letter below in support of the Environmental Justice Act (H.2913 / S.426). And here is a link to a one-pager explaining this proposed legislation.

December 18, 2017

Sen. Anne Gobi
24 Beacon St.
Room 513
Boston, MA, 02133

Rep. Wm. Smitty Pignatelli
24 Beacon St.
Room 473F
Boston, MA, 02133

Dear Chairs Gobi and Pignatelli:

Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution states that the “people shall have the right to clean air and water.” Article 97 offers a realistic and necessary promise of a healthful and sustainable environment to all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of income, race, national origin, or age. We write in support of H.2913 / S.426, An Act Relative to Environmental Justice and Toxics Reduction in the Commonwealth (“the Environmental Justice Act”) as an affirmation of this promise.

The Commonwealth’s low-income residents and communities of color continue to face a disproportionate burden of pollution and its harmful health effects. For too long, Massachusetts has failed to act on the principle of environmental justice: that wealth and race should not determine whether people breathe fresh air or smokestack emissions or whether they drink clean water or water slick with leachate from the local landfill. To its great credit, the Commonwealth has had a general commitment to environmental justice since 2002, when the first Environmental Justice policy for the Secretariat of Energy and Environmental Affairs was issued.

This commitment was reaffirmed with Executive Order 552 in 2014. EO 552 required all the Secretariats to issue environmental justice policies and assign staff to coordinate environmental justice issues within and between agencies. Governor Charlie Baker’s administration has affirmed the importance of environmental justice by keeping Executive Order 552 in place. But the work of environmental justice has now stalled. Virtually all of Executive Order 552 remains un-implemented. There remains little or no coordination within or between state agencies on pressing issues of environmental justice. This is not a theoretical problem. As you read this, an incinerator continues to release toxic gases into the lungs of working-class neighborhoods and its unlined ash landfill continues to leak with unknown consequences.

The Environmental Justice Act requires our regulatory agencies to do better. It would codify Executive Order 552 into Massachusetts General Law. We believe that our state agencies are staffed with personnel at all levels that support environmental justice. We ask you to give strength to their good intentions by creating a clear legislative mandate in support of concrete steps toward environmental justice across all state agencies.

The Environmental Justice Act will encourage healthy and sustainable development in our communities. Indeed, if our regulators are wise, the environmental justice policies they develop will support the growth of clean industries that are friendly to the environment and public health. Even today, we see that happening with the rapid growth of the clean energy sector; community agriculture and farmers’ markets; and green infrastructure.

We urge you to issue a favorable report to H.2913 / S.426, An Act Relative to Environmental Justice and Toxics Reduction in the Commonwealth, as soon as possible and push for its enactment this legislative session. We thank you for your support of our environment and offer our regards for your support in this process.


Richard Juang
Alternatives for Community and Environment

Joel Wool
Clean Water Action

Darlene Lombos
Community Labor United

Andrew Gordon
350 Massachusetts for a Better Future

Al Blake, Lisa Coedy, James Mulloy
350 Mass – Berkshires, 350 Mass – Cape Cod, 350 Mass – North Shore

Mark LeBel
Acadia Center

Anna Leslie
Allston Brighton Health Collaborative

Joseph Gerson
American Friends Service Committee, New England Regional Office

Casey Harvell
American Lung Association in Massachusetts

Heather Clish
Appalachian Mountain Club

Sarah Freedman
Arborway Coalition

Michaelann Bewsee
Arise for Social Justice

Andrew Gottlieb
Association to Preserve Cape Cod

Jane Winn
Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)

Fran Ludwig
Boston Catholic Climate Movement

James Michel
Boston Clean Energy Coalition

Mike Prokosch
Boston Climate Action Network

Becca Wolfson
Boston Cyclists Union

Beth Huang
Boston Democratic Socialists of America

Carol Strupczewski
Citizens Leading Environmental Action Network (CLEAN)

Diane Turco
Cape Downwinders

Frederic B. Jennings Jr., Ph.D.
Center for Ecological Economic and Ethical Education (CEEEE)

Lor Holmes
CERO Cooperative

Renata von Tscharner
Charles River Conservancy

Margaret Van Deusen
Charles River Watershed Association

Ivey St. John
Charlestown Waterfront Coalition (CWC)

Mark Liu
Chinese Progressive Association

Mary Dewart
Climate Action Brookline

Michael Green
Climate Action Business Association

Adele Franks
Climate Action Now, Western Mass

Rachel Mulroy
Coalition for Social Justice

Bradley Hubbard-Nelson

Rafael Mares
Conservation Law Foundation

Dave McMahon
Dismas House

Margaret Hammond
East Boston Open Market

Grady McGonagill
Elders Climate Action

Eric Wilkinson
Environmental League of Massachusetts

Dawn Tesorero
Episcopalians Caring for Creation

Alexandra Piñeros Shields, Ph.D
Essex County Community Organization

Allison Gustavson
Essex County #6 Indivisible

Edward O. Becker
Essex County Greenbelt

M. Neville Wall
Exodus Acres

M. Lynch
First Parish Unitarian Cambridge, The Environmental Justice Task Force

Nisha Swinton
Food & Water Watch

Alice Arena
Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station

Dr. Karen Weber
Foundation for a Green Future, Inc.

Judy Lehrer Jacobs
Friends of the Blue Hills

Karen Buck
Friends of the Malden River

Cornelia van der Ziel
Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility

Debra Simes
Green Acton, Inc.

Steven Nutter
Green Cambridge

Jacqueline Royce
Green Committee Neighborhood Association of Back Bay

Marcia Cooper
Green Newton

Sue Phelan

Nancy Hazard
Greening Greenfield

Roseanne Bongiovanni

Heather McMann
Groundwork Lawrence

Maura Ramsey
Groundwork Southcoast

Kyle Vincent
Hampshire Council of Governments

Karen A. Vilandry
Hands Across the River Coalition, Inc.

Bill Ravanesi
Health Care without Harm

Lynn Nadeau
HealthLink, inc.

Hannah Klein
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action

Rabbi Katy
Allen Jewish Climate Action Network

Elsa Auerbach
Jewish Voice For Peace Boston

Ricki Pappo
Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition

Stacy Thompson
Livable Streets Alliance

Jane Calvin
Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust

Edward Himlan
MA Watershed Coalition

Nicole Morris-McLaughlin
Marion Institute – SouthCoast Energy Challenge

Karen Heymann
Mass Audubon

Eugenia Gibbons
Mass Energy Consumers Alliance

Brad Verter
Mass Green Network

Marylynn Gentry
Mass Land Trust Coalition

Vince Maraventano
Mass. Interfaith Power & Light

Carol Oldham
Massachusetts Climate Action Network

Danielle Marini
Massachusetts Coalition of Lakes and Ponds

Lew Finfer
Massachusetts Communities Action Network (MCAN)

Anne Goodwin
Massachusetts Mothers Out Front

Joe Dorant
Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists (MOSES)

Cole Harrison
Massachusetts Peace Action

Katy Eiseman
Massachusetts PipeLine Awareness Network

Mary Gilbert
Massachusetts Quaker Legislative Action Network

Julia Blatt
Massachusetts Rivers Alliance

Emily Norton
Massachusetts Sierra Club

Richard Fries

Al Vega
MassCOSH – Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health

Kathleen M Vandiver, PhD
MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences

Leigh Youngblood
Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust

Patrick Herron
Mystic River Watershed Association

Elena Letona
Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts

Ian Cooke
Neponset River Watershed Association

Jennifer Wexler
No Canton Gas Pipeline: toward an equitable sustainable future

Rosemary Wessel
No Fracked Gas in Mass

Birgitta McAlevey
No Sharon Gas Pipeline

Gabriela Boscio
NOAH (Neighborhood of Affordable Housing)

Pat Larson
North Quabbin Energy

Dan Bensonoff
Northeast Organic Farming Association – Massachusetts

Rob Moir, PhD
Ocean River Institute

Jared Hicks, Suzanne Phillips, Kit Hoffmann
Our Revolution Boston, Our Revolution Cape Cod Area, Our Revolution Randolph

Mary Booth, PhD
Partnership for Policy Integrity

Irene Paine Pilgrim
Legislative Advisory Coalition

Jeanne Krieger
Progressive Democrats of MA

Jonathan Cohn
Progressive Massachusetts

Laura Kelly
Protect Our Cape Cod Aquifer

Melissa Gough
Protect Sudbury

Juan Declet-Barreto
Puerto Rico Rises

Steven Fischer
Regional Environmental Council of Central MA (REC)

Lilly Marcelin
Resilient Sisterhood Project

Pat Gozemba
Salem Alliance for the Environment

Ashley Higgs Hammell
Small Planet Institute

Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullit Jonas
Social Justice Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts

Wendy M Graca
South Coast Neighbors United

Cathy Kristofferson

Carole Horowitz
Sugar Shack Alliance

Melissa Gough
Sustainable Sudbury

Lara Wahl
Sustainable Upton

Don Ogden
The Enviro Show

Magdalena Ayed
The Harborkeepers

Steve Long
The Nature Conservancy

Jen Ryan
The Trustees

Claire Miller
Toxics Action Center Campaigns

Kaat Vander Straeten
Transition Wayland

Chris Dempsey
Transportation for Massachusetts

John Rogers
Union of Concerned Scientists

Laura Wagner
Unitarian Universalist Mass Action Network

Rev. Jim Antal, Conference President, and Barbara Darling
United Church of Christ, Massachusetts Conference, Environmental Ministries

Meredith Elbaum
US Green Building Council Massachusetts Chapter

Adi Nochur

Rickie Harvey
West Roxbury Saves Energy

Mary Ann Babinski
Westfield City Councilor

William Rose
Westfield Watershed Association

Olivia Marks
Youth on Board

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