Senator Cory Booker Photo: Getty
Senator Cory Booker noticed the White House, but the roots of the Democratic presidential candidate date back to the suburbs of Newark, New Jersey. This city now faces a massive water crisis as lead seeps into its water supply. In its recently published climate plan on Tuesday, Booker promises to prevent such a disaster from happening again in Newark and cities in the United States.
While Booker touches several points related to climate change, including a $ 3 billion plan to decarbonize the economy by 2045 and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, the real jewel of the plan is its attention to environmental justice. It is the first point Booker raises in the document, and he is proposing to develop an Environmental Justice Fund for this to happen.
Booker would commit $ 50 billion a year to the fund, which would focus on eliminating all lead service lines in schools, kindergartens and residential buildings. Schools or residential units that suffer from lead contamination can rely on that fund to help pay for any work to clean them.
However, the fund will also focus on ensuring that all homes have access to wastewater disposal systems. In the United States, some 600,000 households in rural areas of the country do not yet have basic water and sanitation services, according to a report from the 2015 Rural Community Assistance Association. Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on poverty extreme and human rights, he even highlighted this problem in his 2017 report that breaks down his research on extreme poverty in the US. UU. Booker promises to solve that in this plan.
To lead the fund, Booker wants to create an Environmental Justice Advisor for the White House, who would be the first of its kind. This person would lead the fund's advisory council, which would be responsible for any action it takes or programs it finances.
Getting $ 50 billion a year dedicated to environmental justice will not be easy to rely solely on Congress. However, Booker has some other ideas on how to raise revenue for his entire plan, including getting polluters to pay their fair share and ending fossil fuel subsidies and using executive authority.
In any case, the environmental justice fund remains something to celebrate. Pollution cleaning and pipeline closure is not always the most attractive issue when it comes to climate change, but it is all connected. Climate change comes from our consumption of fossil fuels, which are generally produced and extracted closer to communities of color and low-income communities. When natural disasters occur as a result of this imbalance facing our planet, the poorest and most often are the first to feel their impacts, and the least equipped to deal with everything.
Environmental justice deserves more attention in the presidential race. Candidates such as Elizabeth Warren, Sanders, Julian Castro and even Joe Biden have mentioned the issue in their plans, but the establishment of a presidential fund is unprecedented. For communities surrounded by Superfund sites and forced to deal with obsolete infrastructure, that fund could go a long way.