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Allison Stevens | February 23, 2022

A Matter of Life and Death: Advocates Urge Congress to End Environmental Racism

In this post, we take a look at the Environmental Justice for All Act, legislation originally introduced in 2021 that would strengthen environmental standards and create safer and healthier communities for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, or income. A recent Congressional committee hearing on the act might finally be moving the legislation forward.

Jamillah Bowman Williams, Marcha Chaudry | February 22, 2022

The Hill Op-Ed: Banning Workers from Suing Their Employer Hurts People of Color and Women Most

In a fair and just country, corporations are held accountable in the courts if their irresponsible behavior harms people. However, like many policies, the communities most impacted by forced arbitration are historically marginalized groups. Indeed, forced arbitration has a disproportionate impact on low-income Americans and Black and brown women when they are the victims of discrimination. Their abuse goes beyond the general adverse impacts of forced arbitration, noted in a new report by the Center for Progressive Reform.

Karen Sokol | February 21, 2022

Bloomberg Law Op-Ed: State Courts Should Hear Cities’ Climate Deception Lawsuits

On Jan. 25, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held oral argument in Baltimore v. BP PLC, a case in which the city is seeking to hold BP and other fossil fuel companies liable in state court for their systematic deceptive marketing campaign to hide the catastrophic dangers of their products. The goal of their decades-long, ongoing disinformation campaign: to lock in a fossil-fuel based society—and continue reaping astronomical profits—even during a fossil fuel-driven climate emergency. Other cities, counties, and states have brought similar suits in their state courts, all invoking long-standing state deceptive marketing laws. So why is Baltimore's case before a federal appellate court? The panel's three judges wanted to know—and the answer is more misrepresentation.

Jake Moore | February 17, 2022

EPA’s Environmental Justice Plan Needs Improvement and Community Review

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Land and Emergency Management recently released its draft Environmental Justice Action (EJ) Plan. The office's EJ Action Plan lays out four goals to guide and motivate its push toward equity and climate justice. These include: strengthening compliance with cornerstone environmental statutes and civil rights laws, integrating environmental justice considerations into OLEM's regulatory process, improving communications and collaborations with communities in carrying out OLEM policies, and carrying out Biden's Justice 40 initiative to deliver 40 percent of clean energy and climate benefits to disadvantaged communities. While well-intentioned, these aspirational goals require filling out.

Sidney A. Shapiro | February 14, 2022

A Wake-Up Call from Winston-Salem: EPA Must Act Now to Prevent Chemical Disasters

When the Wake Forest University emergency communications systems called me at 12:01 am on Tuesday, February 1, I could not have guessed that it was about a chemical bomb capable of wiping out blocks and blocks of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The call warned university students to heed the city’s voluntary evacuation of the 6,500 people living within in a one-mile radius of the Winston Weaver fertilizer plant that was on fire — and in danger of exploding. Thankfully, the fire did not injure anyone, and the bomb did not ignite.

James Goodwin | February 10, 2022

Washington Monthly Op-Ed: Regulatory Government Is Democratic Government

The regulatory system is quite literally democracy in action, as it invites and empowers members of the public to work with their government to implement policies to keep our drinking water free of contaminants, ensure that the food on store shelves is safe to eat, prevent crooked banks from cheating customers, and much, much more.

Marcha Chaudry | February 9, 2022

Forcing People to Settle Disputes under Arbitration Harms Marginalized Groups Most

A few years ago, Roschelle Powers took a routine trip to visit her mom, Roberta, at her nursing home in Birmingham, Alabama. When Roschelle opened the door, she found her mother vomiting, disoriented -- and clutching a handful of pills. Roberta’s son, Larry, visited a few days later and found his mom alone and unresponsive. She died soon after – with 20 times the recommended dose of her diabetes medication in her blood. The Powers family charged the nursing home with misconduct, but the company denied responsibility -- and the family couldn’t take their case to court because they had signed a contract that robbed them of their right to a free and fair trial. Instead, contractual legalese forced them to settle their dispute in a rigged system of arbitration rather than in an impartial court of law. My colleagues and I share this story, chronicled in a New York Times investigation of forced arbitration, in the opening pages of our new report about the disproportionate toll this widespread practice has on marginalized and vulnerable groups.

Darya Minovi | February 8, 2022

CPR Pushes Bills to Protect Waterways and Public Health in Maryland and Virginia: Part II

Last week, my colleagues and I advocated for a pair of clean water bills in Maryland and Virginia, which were spurred by research completed by the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR). This two-part blog series explains why. Part I, which ran yesterday, explores our collaborative work to protect clean drinking water in Maryland. Today, we look at our efforts to protect Virginia’s health and environment from toxic chemical spills.

Darya Minovi | February 7, 2022

CPR Pushes Bills to Protect Waterways and Public Health in Maryland and Virginia: Part I

Last week, my colleagues and I advocated for a pair of clean water bills in Maryland and Virginia, which were spurred by research completed by the Center for Progressive Reform (CPR). One would create a Private Well Safety Program in Maryland, and the other would create an aboveground chemical storage tank registration program in Virginia. Both laws are sorely needed. This two-part blog series explains why. Today’s piece looks at our efforts to protect clean drinking water in Maryland; check back tomorrow for Part II, which explores our collaborative efforts to protect Virginians from toxic chemical spills.