Let's put frontline communities at the front of the line. Contact your representatives today and ask them to support HB1033.
Climate change is bringing heatwaves, floods, and extreme weather across Maryland. Climate change is also a threat multiplier, exacerbating existing health and economic disparities. And environmental and systemic racism has resulted in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities facing disproportionate hazards when it comes to air quality, water quality, and climate disasters.
The EPA’s Justice40 Initiative is a framework to reverse this pattern and put frontline communities at the front of the line. It states that communities who have faced disproportionate amounts of pollution and health impacts should receive 40% of benefits from federal investments in clean energy and transit, sustainable housing, training and workforce development, clean water infrastructure, and legacy pollution remediation and reduction. But we’re not leaving it up to the federal government - we’re working to bring this principle home.
HB1033 says that communities disproportionately burdened by pollution in Maryland will receive at least 40% of state funds to build healthy, climate-resilient communities. It uses the leadership and expertise of the Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice, and Health at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, creators of the MD-EJScreen mapping tool, to identify which communities qualify for funding. And it creates a framework for communities to have a say in what counts as a community disproportionately burdened by pollution, making sure that dollars are getting to where they need to go for programs like:
- Energy efficiency and renewable energy installation
- Bus service and transportation spending
- Parks and conservation
- Infectious and chronic disease prevention and support
- Housing and community development
- Water quality and air quality
This environmental justice principle is key for facing the climate crisis in a way that builds a healthy future for communities that have been sacrificed in the past. Communities that qualify for increased funding in HB1033 cover just 16% of the state population - microtargeting the communities most in need. And, because of past and present environmental racism, these communities are disproportionately overburdened - 68% of qualifying communities are majority communities of color.
As we face what the latest IPCC report calls “a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all,” we need to make sure that frontline communities are at the front of the line for resources to fight it.
Take Action! Send a message to your delegates in support of HB1033 today!