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Leading Environmental Justice and Religious Organizations Call for Action

Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC)
February 1st, 2002

ATLANTA (January 28, 2002) -- Twenty-seven U.S. environmental justice, climate justice, religious, policy, and advocacy groups announced their unification today in a call for action from the Bush Administration and Congress on climate change. The groups will be meeting in New York City this week and have linked much of their efforts to issues related to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

The coalition, called the Environmental Justice and Climate Change (EJCC) Initiative, urges President Bush and Congressional leaders to take immediate and just steps on climate change policy. This marks the first time such groups have united to advance one agenda on climate change. The EJCC Initiative supports energy efficiency, renewable energy, and conservation policies while seeking equitable measures to protect and assist the communities most affected by climate change.

People of color, indigenous people, low-income people and workers bear a disproportionate impact of climate change. For decades, extreme and unnecessary social, health, and economic impacts of a fossil fuel addicted society have harshly penetrated these communities. As such, they are the first victims of government inaction, corporate abuse, and negligent public policy. "Environmental justice and climate change loom as major environmental issues of the 21st century. Our industrial, energy, transportation, and sprawl development policies and practices are major contributors to climate change," said Robert Bullard, who directs the Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University. Bullard has written several books on the subject, including "Unequal Protection" (1996), "Just Transportation" (1997), "Dumping in Dixie" (2000), and "Sprawl City" (2000). "The environmental justice community is fully engaged in the battle for clean air and seeks to ensure that policy responses are equitable," said Felicia Davis-Gilmore, who represents the Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda. "If Dr. King were alive today, we are sure he would fight for environmental justice, " said 12-year old Atlantan Illai Kenny of Kids Against Pollution (KAP). Davis-Gilmore accompanied three KAP kids to the New York meeting. "Now is the time for this country's leadership to take action and find solutions to climate change which has long affected the poorest of our country's poor," said EJCC Initiative Co-Chair Beverly Wright, who also directs the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Xavier University in Louisiana. "The EJCC Initiative will work toward ensuring future policy decisions won't be made on the backs of those most affected."

"The U.S. is the major contributor to climate change, yet our government has abdicated a leadership role to the long-term detriment of the world," said EJCC Initiative Co-Chair Ruben Solis. "We eagerly await the President's State of the Union address tomorrow to see what, if any, action this Administration will take to transition to a clean, just and sustainable economy."

The twenty-seven environmental justice and climate justice grassroots organizations that have joined the EJCC Initiative are:

Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Black Leadership Forum, Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis, The Church of the Brethren, Communities for a Better Environment, Concerned Citizens of NORCO, Corporate Watch, Corporation for Enterprise Development, Council of Athabascan Tribal Government, Deep South Center for Environmental Justice at Xavier University, Eco Equity, Environmental Justice Resource Center at Clark Atlanta University, Georgia Coalition for a Peoples' Agenda, Indigenous Environmental Network, Intertribal Council on Utility Policy, Just Transition Alliance, Kids Against Pollution, National Black Environmental Justice Network, Kids Against Pollution, Native Village of Unalakleet, New York PIRG, Redefining Progress, Southern Organizing Committee, Southwest Network for Economic and Environmental Justice, Southwest Public Worker's Union, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, United Methodist Church, University of Michigan-School of Natural Resources and the Environment, West County Toxics Coalition, West Harlem Environmental Action (WE ACT).