Governor Baker, Prioritize Environmental Justice

Governor Baker, Prioritize Environmental Justice

Governor Baker, Prioritize Environmental Justice

Dear Governor Baker,

As you know, on November 25 of last year Governor Deval Patrick signed into law an Executive Order #552 on Environmental Justice which decrees that state agencies designate resources to protect the health, safety and environment for the most vulnerable residents of the Commonwealth. It recognizes that low-income communities, communities of color and communities with limited English-proficiency live in areas with greater exposure to environmental health hazards.

As part of the College Democrats of Massachusetts' Environmental Action Week, we write to you in support of this Executive Order and thank you for ensuring its continued implementation. We appreciate the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs' (EEA) updated policies on Environmental Justice including reducing diesel emissions, promoting clean energy technology, brownfields revitalization and creating greenspaces. In addition to the EEA, we hope we can count on you to make sure all state agencies create an environmental justice strategy by May 24, 2015 and that secretariats designate a coordinator to implement their specific strategy. Massachusetts made history by becoming the eighth state in the nation to make environmental justice a policy priority and we cannot allow this progress to stagnate.

Another crucial part of guaranteeing environmental justice for all Massachusetts residents is making sure vulnerable communities have access to reliable public transportation. Youth and low-income people rely heavily on the MBTA to get to work, school and community resources like grocery stores and healthcare centers. Accessibility to these places allows people to contribute to their communities and help the Commonwealth become healthier and more productive. We urge you to work with Secretary Pollack to make increasing funding for the MBTA part of the Department of Transportation's Environmental Justice Strategy.

 Although our political agendas are not always in line, the College Democrats of Massachusetts deeply appreciates your commitment to serving the people of the Commonwealth. Your most recent proposed legislation on expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit shows your regard for low income residents and we hope you see the intersection of low income and environmental justice issues. We thank you for supporting the Environmental Justice Executive Order thus far and strongly encourage its continued implementation.

Sincerely,

The College Democrats of Massachusetts Executive Board

James Cody

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