FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2021
MEDIA CONTACT: Sumer Shaikh, Green New Deal Network, firstname.lastname@example.org, 774-545-0128
100 Grassroots Organizations Across the Country Push for Community Investments in Lead Pipe Removal, Public Transit, and EV Charging
Communities Continue Fighting for the Basic Necessities of Clean Air, Water and Climate
Washington, DC — Today, in a letter addressed to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer, 100 grassroots organizations in 28 states pledged their support for Democratic members of Congress who are championing lead pipe removal, electrification and expansion of public transit and high speed rail, and EV charging in the infrastructure plan. The Green New Deal Network and allies support letters on the priorities championed by Representative Paul Tonko, Chair Peter DeFazio, Representatives Henry C. “Hank” Johnson Jr. and Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Representatives Debbie Dingell and Yvette Clarke, Representatives Seth Moulton, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jim Costa and Senator Ed Markey.
As the Senate moves to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure framework, grassroots organizations across the country remain concerned that the above priorities will be eliminated from the infrastructure plan. The organizations state, “These issues, from access to clean and safe drinking water to reliable and sustainable transportation, impact our daily lives; directing full investment into these priorities will not only increase the living standard of millions but will also make the infrastructure package a historic climate justice action, the first of its kind in our country.”
Under the current bipartisan infrastructure framework, the $15 billion funding for lead pipe removal would only eliminate 25%, while the water industry estimates that $60 billion is needed for full lead pipe replacement. despite the EPA recommending that the lead content in drinking water should be nonexistent due to health hazards.
“It is remarkable that we are fighting for funding to replace something as basic and toxic as lead pipes so people can have access to clean water. In just the last few weeks, Clarksburg, West Virginia was added to the already long list of cities in the US with toxic levels of lead in drinking water. How many more of our kids and elders need to be poisoned before our leaders will finally give us access to clean, healthy water?,” said Alexandra Gallo, Organizing Director with WV Working Families Party and State Coordinator of the WV New Jobs Coalition.
“When you’re in any kind of official leadership capacity and you know that your people are drinking poisoned water or you know that the potential exists for a disastrous outcome, it becomes your responsibility to fix the problem,” said Chief Vincent Mann of the Ranapough Lenape Nation Turtle Clan in New Jersey. “Our leaders have shirked their duties in the bipartisan deal and I hope Congress does better during the budget reconciliation because we can’t live without water.”
The bipartisan deal also falls short on acting on climate with too little investment in greening transportation, the largest source of emissions in the US, with insufficient funding for electrification and expansion of public transit, rail, and EV charging. For instance, the $2.5 billion for electrifying buses is only 4% of what is needed to replace all diesel school buses with clean electric vehicles.
“The Pacific Northwest is on fire, but as chair of the committee on Commerce and Transportation, Senator Maria Cantwell is passing on the opportunity to include high-speed rail funding in the infrastructure reconciliation agreement,” said Rosie Zhou, Sunrise Spokane Hub Coordinator. “We’re disappointed because advocating for high-speed rail is critical now in order for us to meet the climate crisis with the urgency it requires.”
By investing $600 billion in transportation, not only would we create 1.2 million jobs by transitioning to cleaner energy sources but we would also prevent 4,200 deaths and save about $100 billion in health damages each year. Investments in transportation should also expand accessibility to include the 45 percent of Americans who currently have no access to public transit.
“Transportation is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases and air pollution. While the world staggers from one climate disaster to the next, we urgently need transformative investments in clean public transit to cut emissions,” said Hana Creger, Senior Program Manager of Climate Equity at The Greenlining Institute. And public transit is a pillar of a fully functional society and economy. Particularly for low-income people and people of color, public transit is a key that opens doors to jobs, education, healthcare, and other critical services.”
About the Green New Deal Network
The Green New Deal Network is a 50-state campaign with a national coordinating table of 15 organizations: Center for Popular Democracy, Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Greenpeace, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indivisible, Movement for Black Lives, MoveOn, People’s Action, Right To The City Alliance, Service Employees International Union, Sierra Club, Sunrise Movement, US Climate Action Network, and the Working Families Party.