BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Senator Ed Markey joined Missouri Congresswoman Cori Bush for a virtual press conference on Thursday, to announce the introduction of new environmental justice legislation.
According to Markey's office, the "Environmental Justice Mapping and Data Collection Act of 2021" aims to create funding for a system that would identify and collect data on factors that impact environmental justice, including demographic, environment, socioeconomic status and public health.
Information collected in the system would then be included in a "government-wide interagency process" that would build maps to show which communities experience the most inequality when it comes to environmental justice.
Lawmakers behind the bill, including Markey, Bush and Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois say the bill would help the Biden administration with it's investments in a "clean and climate-safe future" for environmentally marginalized communities.
Several representatives from environmental justice organizations attended the virtual meeting, including Maria Belen Power, the Associate Executive Director of the Chelsea-based organization Greenroots.
"We have some of the highest rates of asthma hospitalization, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, obesity and so much more," Power said. "So not surprisingly, Chelsea and East Boston have also been two of the hardest hit communities by Covid-19 in Massachusetts."
Senator Markey said when working to rebuild the country's economy and health during the Covid-19 pandemic, equity must be "at the heart of every policy."
"That means having an evidence-based method for targeting investments and protective policies toward those who have faced the most harm," Markey said. "Systemic racism needs systemic solutions, and this legislation will take an important step in ridding of these historic injustices.”
A copy of the bill can be found here or on Senator Markey's website.
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Written by Rachel Armany