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Wrong turn on environmental protection for kids and families

Congress might eliminate help for lower-income communities that protects them from dangerous pollution.

In a small farming community in California's Salinas Valley in 2015, parents and community leaders were trained how to protect their children from the dangers of pesticides. Farther south, in the lower-income San Diego neighborhood of Barrio Logan, a program taught residents how to combat air pollution.

These vital programs were two of many funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Justice. Established in the early 1990s, the office provides grants to minority and lower-income communities, which suffer disproportionately from air and water pollution, to create and implement local solutions.

Unfortunately, while this indispensable office has made a difference in communities in California and elsewhere, the president's budget proposal would completely eliminate it, and it would slash the EPA's overall budget by more than 30 percent. To make matters worse, a bill currently in Congress would specifically stop the EPA from funding environmental justice programs in local communities.

Take action

Common Sense Kids Action believes that all kids deserve to play in a healthy and safe environment, with clean air and clean water. Pollution affects all Americans but is especially harmful for kids, who breathe in more air per kilogram of body weight than adults and spend more time outside. Minority children especially depend on environmental justice programs -- one out of every six African-American kids, for example, has asthma.

California has been a leader in the fight against climate change and its impact on kids, including legislation protecting clean drinking water in public schools and encouraging solar energy in lieu of harmful greenhouse gases. But lower-income kids in California and other states will suffer if Congress eliminates the office dedicated to promoting environmental justice. Your voice can help make sure that doesn't happen.

Call and write your member of Congress today to urge them to do two things:

  • Oppose any budget that cuts the Office of Environmental Justice.
  • Oppose HR 968, a bill that eliminates the Office of Environmental Justice.
Kelsey Kober
Policy Associate