Cory 2020
For Immediate Release:

April 26, 2019

JUSTICE FOR ALL TOUR: Laying Out First Piece of Environmental Justice Agenda, Booker Unveils Plan to Undo Damage by Trump Administration, Protect Vulnerable Communities by Strengthening Power of EPA

Columbia, S.C. -- At stops in South Carolina today, Cory Booker is discussing specifics of one component of his environmental justice agenda. He will outline the steps he would take as president to undo the damage done by the Trump administration and protect vulnerable and marginalized communities by strengthening the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Communities of color, low-income communities, and indigenous communities have disproportionately suffered with environmental and public health issues as a result of unchecked corporate polluting and the systematic rollback of protections by the Trump administration. 

Booker has introduced and championed the Environmental Justice Act in the Senate and earlier this week became a co-founder of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus.

“The Trump administration has gutted the EPA, rolled back clean air and clean water protections, and allowed polluters to go unchecked, causing immense harm and suffering by vulnerable communities,” said Cory Booker. “We cannot and will not stand by while polluters poison our children and make our air unbreathable. This injustice must end. As president, I would take immediate steps to protect and defend struggling families by strengthening the EPA’s enforcement power, forcing those responsible for pollution to pay for cleanup and abatement, and putting an end to the poisoning of communities like mine in Newark and so many in South Carolina. This is a national and global emergency, and it’s time we had a president that treats it as one by ending and preventing future destruction by corporate polluters.”

As president, Cory would protect traditionally vulnerable and marginalized communities that have disproportionately felt the impact of corporate pollution by punishing and holding polluters accountable. This includes:
  • Forcing companies that pollute to pay to clean up their pollution, instead of taxpayers footing the bill, by reauthorizing and tripling the Superfund tax on chemical and oil companies; 
  • Reinvesting in communities by extending and doubling the fees on coal mine operators  to help fund the cleanup of all abandoned mines within 10 years and provide opportunities for new economic development;
  • Protecting marginalized communities suffering from environmental injustices by increasing staffing at the EPA’s Environmental Justice Office and the External Civil Rights Enforcement Office by ten times, with resources specifically allocated to ensure timely cleanup of Superfund sites;
  • Stepping up efforts to defend communities of color, low income communities, and indigenous communities by doubling staffing in all EPA enforcement offices;
  • Safeguarding the basic human right of safe drinking water, by increasing resources for investigation and enforcement of violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act standards for public water systems;
  • Ending the plague on communities caused by lead paint by requiring responsible paint companies to pay for cleanup and abatement;
  • Strengthening bankruptcy laws so that polluting companies cannot evade responsibility for environmental cleanups;
  • Putting the overall health of communities ahead of corporations by requiring the EPA to consider the level of existing pollution in the area before granting or renewing any new Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act permits.

Since January 2017, the Trump administration has rolled back its enforcement of anti-pollution laws. Last year, the EPA conducted less than half the federal inspections and evaluations it did in 2010, and collected just $3.95 billion from polluters for injunctive relief—including the lowest amount in fines to polluters in the 15-year existence of the enforcement office. Pollution cases referred to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution stand at their lowest level since 1988.