DENVER, CO– The House today advanced HB21-1266, legislation that would define disproportionately impacted communities to ensure that climate policies address environmental justice.
“Report after report has shown that low-income communities face dangerous air and water pollution and as a result see higher rates of deadly health conditions,” said Rep. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora. “It’s clear that climate change and toxic emissions are disproportionately impacting Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. This bill simply asks that we clearly define the terms ‘environmental justice’ and ‘disproportionately impacted community.’ By defining these terms, we can more equitably address climate change and air pollution in a way that directly considers and addresses the needs of the communities that are facing some of the most consequential impacts.”
HB21-1266, sponsored by Representative Dominique Jackson, is designed to ensure Colorado’s climate policies put environmental justice at the forefront. The bill would create an Environmental Justice Action Task Force within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to take community input and develop a government-wide environmental justice strategy. It directs the Air Quality Control Commission to engage directly with disproportionately impacted communities. It would also create a definition for the terms “environmental justice” and “disproportionately impacted community”, ensuring that communities of color, low-income communities, and others who are disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change are considered in the state’s climate response efforts.