Environmental Justice and Civil Rights

Today’s acts of discriminatory practices have taken place on American soil in the past, in present-day form, and acts of unfair treatment will more than likely persist in the future. To prevent such wrongs Government and other elected officials voted on two Bills. These Bills were enacted as The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Environmental Justice Act of 2017.  

In yesterday’s history, (July 2, 1964)  Civil Rights Act of 1964 was first introduced by President John F Kennedy; succeeding his demise the Act was signed into law by Lyndon B Johnson. The Act prohibited discrimination in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public places, and made employment discrimination illegal on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

S.1996 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)

Environmental Justice Act of 2017 regulates the fair treatment and purposeful inclusion of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws. The purposes of this Act are:

(1) to require Federal agencies to address and eliminate the disproportionate environmental and human health impacts on communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities;

(2) to ensure that all Federal agencies develop and enforce rules, regulations, guidance, standards, policies, plans, and practices that promote environmental justice;

(3) to increase cooperation and require coordination among Federal agencies in achieving environmental justice;

(4) to provide to communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities greater access to public information and opportunities for participation in decision making affecting human health and the environment;

(5) to mitigate the inequitable distribution of the burdens and benefits of Federal programs having significant impacts on human health and the environment;

(6) to require consideration of cumulative impacts in permitting decisions;

(7) to clarify congressional intent to afford rights of action pursuant to certain statutes and common law claims; and

(8) to allow a private right of action under title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.) to challenge discriminatory practices.

Challenges and Opportunities
Racial discrimination in the United States especially, acts of violence and terror against minorities is ongoing with no intermissions. Change has been less effective due to the lack of state capacity, bureaucratic backsliding, corruption, and incompetence that cannot be ignored. Pennsylvania’s opportunities for resolve remain largely disproportionate to the needs of the people residing in the state. Most times theses overlooked persons are minorities, low income, & persons of color. The challenge is the struggle of communities that are ignored. Those neighborhoods have higher rates of exposure to pollution, greater incidence of crime, increased blight and lack of resources that result in negative civil and environmental consequences.

Action required! Talk is cheap.
Tomorrows American environmental conscious person would show concern for the environment and support the pro-environmental worldview in terms of specific and global issues. If yesterday acts are any inclination of what tomorrow brings, then swift action is required on many levels to uphold the Civil Rights and Environmental Justice laws, regulations, and policies that are in place. The linking themes of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 & Environmental Justice Act of 2017 are the guiding principles that signify hope that Americans are headed in a positive direction.  Although ratification of discrimination continues to sit on the backburner of many minds; given the false impression that change has come. When really conversations are still brewing for a true implementation of these corrective policies to take effect in real time, with real hands paying it forward.

The resolution: Invest and Infuse!
In order to build a brighter tomorrow, we must invest in better branded Americans. The generations of old are stuck in a time warp. They have less push and drained efforts to produce the energy it takes to rebirth a nation that nurtures. Maybe discrimination will cease and bureaucratic backsliding will become void; if the youth is infused with the wherewithal of civic and environmental liberties early on.



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