Contact MA Legislators to Pass Environmental Justice Bill!
Environmental Justice (EJ) is a civil rights principle: all people have a right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live, learn, work, play, and pray in and enjoy a clean and healthy environment regardless of race, income, national origin, or English language proficiency.
- Excerpt from a letter written by Massachusetts Environmental Justice organizations. For full letter, click here.
Our Commonwealth’s frontline communities face the combined injustices of lives disproportionately lost to COVID-19, centuries of government-sanctioned racial oppression, and extreme environmental and health effects of fossil fuel infrastructure. And as we know, these evils are all related and hurt families with children and elders most. After weeks of heightened commitment to Black Lives Matter and the past weekend of Juneteenth celebrations, the time is ripe for Environmental Justice (EJ) to be codified into Massachusetts law.
Please take action NOW on Environmental Injustice by urging House Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and your State Representative, to support the passage of H.4264, An Act relative to environmental justice in the Commonwealth.
Email and call legislators by Monday, June 29. RSVP below for your action to be counted.
Below is background information, followed by a call script and a sample email to make it fast and easy for you to take action.
H.4264 will codify into law guidelines that the Baker Administration has not followed, which is why Mothers Out Front has supported prior versions of this bill since 2017 (for more information, click here). EJ legislation has languished in the state legislature, in part because of the use of race as one criterion for defining what constitutes an Environmental Justice population. H.4264 is a new bill that clarifies aspects of the definition including that affluent minority communities would not be given EJ status under most circumstances. This change has eliminated much of the original opposition to the early bills. In addition, Environmental Justice organizations have addressed the need for EJ legislation that includes race in a letter to State House leaders (see letter signed by Mothers Out Front and allies on this page).
Sample Email and Call Script
1. Send email
CC: Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov, [and Your Representative]
Subject: Please Support the Environmental Justice bill H.4264
Email Letter Template:
Dear Chair Michlewitz,
My name is ____________, and I’m a resident of ___________ (town). As a [mother-father-grandparent-aunt-uncle] I'm alarmed by the triple injustices of COVID-19, racism and the climate crisis and moved to speak out for environmental justice. I’m requesting that you use your power to move the Environmental Justice bill, H.4264, out of the House Ways and Means Committee and to the floor for a vote. This bill will codify into law guidelines that the Baker Administration is not following. Communities such as East Boston, Roxbury, Chelsea, Lawrence, Weymouth, and East Springfield continue to fight toxic fossil fuel pollution in their neighborhoods that threaten people’s health and well-being.
Mothers Out Front has supported prior versions of this bill since 2017. H.4264 improves on previous bills in many ways, clarifying the inclusion of race as one criterion in determining EJ populations. Affluent minority communities would not be given EJ status under most circumstances.
At this pivotal time in our history, as calls for racial justice and Black Lives Matter are coming from every part of our society, I urge you to help right the environmental injustices that our frontline communities face throughout the Commonwealth. Please report H.4264 favorably out of House Ways and Means, with the wording intact.
[Your name, address, phone]
2. To really bring it home, call your Rep after emailing the legislators above.
Sample script: My name is ____________ and I live in ___________ (town). As a constituent, and as a [mother-father-grandparent-aunt-uncle] I'm alarmed by the triple injustices of COVID-19, racism and the climate crisis and moved to speak out for environmental justice. I just copied you on an email to Chair Michlewitz and Speaker DeLeo to ask them to help move the Environmental Justice bill, H.4264, out of the House Ways and Means Committee for a vote. This bill will relieve communities such as East Boston, Roxbury, Chelsea, Lawrence, Weymouth, and East Springfield from the continued toxic pollution that threatens the health and well-being of families in these environmental justice communities.
As continued calls for racial justice and Black Lives Matter shine a spotlight on the injustices in frontline communities, I urge you to help right the wrong of environmental injustice. Please report H.4264 favorably out of House Ways and Means, with the wording intact.