We are pleased that the Senate did not include the permitting legislation that would undermine the promise of environmental justice. At a time where local communities are demanding more accountability within federal statutes such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and opportunities to be heard through environmental impact processes, the permitting legislation amendment that some worked to attach to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would have dismissed community voice.
Black communities have been disproportionately harmed because of special interest groups who have long fought to eradicate any accountability for where toxins are disproportionately located. The House and Senate have now passed the NDAA without including infrastructure permitting. This is a correct move because side deals like this - that disadvantage Black communities - should never be introduced, much less be attached to must-pass legislation. We urge Congress to turn its attention to legislation that reflects the promise of a better future – The Environmental Justice for All Act.
To ensure that historic investments within the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has the most impact in communities that have been historically excluded from resources and safe and healthy environments, side deals to expedite permitting pipelines and other toxic projects must not be prioritized.