Coalition Will Advocate for Federal Action  that Creates Jobs, Protects the Environment, and Advances Equity and Justice
Washington, DC

Today, 39 diverse organizations ranging from environmental, to public health, to faith-based groups are launching the Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities (CCEHC).  The coalition will advocate for any future stimulus and federal spending to rebuild the economy that creates jobs, protects public health and the environment, and advances equity and justice. 

The purpose of the The Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities coalition is to meet the immediate needs of frontline workers and families most impacted by this public health and economic catastrophe by ensuring that any coronavirus stimulus or recovery package reduces pollution, protects public health, corrects inequity linked to environmental injustices and health disparities, invests in clean energy, clean water, and conservation projects that retain and create jobs, rejects bailouts for fossil fuel CEOs, and addresses the climate crisis. 

Below are statements from members of the Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities: 

Cara Cook, MS, RN, AHN-BC, Climate & Health Program Manager, Alliance for Nurses for Healthy Environments
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the national spotlight on racial injustices experienced by black, brown, and indigenous communities throughout the nation shows that now more than ever we must invest in communities and ensure access to resources to promote resilience in the face of challenges such as climate change. As we move forward with rebuilding our economy, nurses call on elected officials to support efforts to address health and social inequities through pollution reduction, access to quality healthcare, improved public health infrastructure, and access to clean energy and liveable wage jobs. Looking to communities most impacted by climate change and environmental pollution for leadership and working together we can build a more equitable future for everyone.”

LaTricea D. Adams, MAT, EdS, Founder, CEO & President, Black Millennials 4 Flint
“There is an attack on Black and Latinx lives. The time to dismantle white supremacy, eradicate environmental racism, establish lead free neighborhoods and #ActOnClimate is NOW. Black Millennials 4 Flint is prepared and equipped to demand that Congress invests in OUR communities on OUR terms. No more lip service. Let's get serious about ‘green reparations’. Period.” 

Jim Doyle, President, Business Forward
“Business Forward joins the coalition in support of key legislative priorities for creating good, green jobs, incentivizing clean energy projects, and directing funds toward a comprehensive, modern infrastructure. Providing relief to Americans in need should be the first priority - but Congress must build a sustainable and forward-thinking support system for the most-affected communities.

“Thank you to the Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities for organizing this community-wide effort intended to meet the needs of frontline workers and families most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Christy Goldfuss, Senior Vice President, Energy and Environment Policy, Center for American Progress
“Any new stimulus package to jump-start the economy must include investments to promote clean energy, a healthier environment, and address the nation’s legacy of systemic racial and environmental inequality. This shameful legacy has increased environmental risks in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods, leaving them with higher pollution levels and more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Congress must make investments that promote good, high-paying jobs in resilient communities powered by clean energy and clean transportation, and prioritize our land, water and wildlife over big polluters. Lawmakers have a chance to remake our economy in a way that doesn’t look backwards but sets us up for success as the world moves toward a 100 percent clean future.” 

Bob Wendelgass, President & CEO, Clean Water Action
"Congress must act now to help the most impacted communities - disproportionately Black and other communities of color, recover and get back to work. The legislative response to Covid-19 needs to move us toward a just and sustainable future. Rebuilding from this pandemic must include an investment in infrastructure needed to ensure clean water for all, acting on climate by building resilient communities, supporting public transit, and making rapid investments in clean energy."

Ken Berlin, President and CEO of the Climate Reality Project 
“The Climate Reality Project knows there can be no climate justice without racial and economic justice. That’s why we must act quickly and aggressively to boost the economy, create jobs, improve respiratory health, end systemic racism, and address the climate crisis.  An ambitious and intentional clean stimulus package can simultaneously tackle these interwoven issues; that is why we are a proud member of the Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities.”

Matt Oberhoffner, Director, Defend Our Future
"Congress must work to help communities address the systemic environmental injustice that is only being further exacerbated by the pandemic, and ensure that the resources they provide to help communities recover actively seeks to lessen these inequities. We have an opportunity to build a clean and healthy economy that works for everyone, and we must seize it. We stand with millions of other Americans in calling for clean air and healthy communities for all. The Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities will help advance progress on these essential priorities."

Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife
“The pandemic and civil and social unrest persisting in our country have shown us that we should be doing more to build long-term resilience to address environmental injustices and human health. As the Trump administration’s attacks on environmental regulations continue to jeopardize both people and imperiled wildlife, Defenders of Wildlife urges Congress to create jobs that prioritize the protection and restoration of the waters, lands and wildlife we all love.”

Mitchell Hescox, Reverend, President/C.E.O, Evangelical Environmental Network 
“As we face the COVID-19 pandemic while once again confronting our national sin of racism, it’s time to come together around bipartisan solutions for a cleaner, brighter, and healthy future. Our God transforms bad into good, and we must do the same for our country. During this coronavirus crisis, approximately 65,000 pro-life Christians have called on Congress to help put Americans back to work in ways that support healthy lives and more prosperous livelihoods. Let’s build a recovery plan that truly demands the words in our Pledge of Allegiance become realized, “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Elected Officials to Protect America
“Elected Officials to Protect America is dedicated to the Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities campaign. As we recover from the pandemic, it is essential to protect frontline workers and families most impacted by the public health crisis. Investing in a recovery package that prioritizes addressing environmental injustices and mobilizing a clean energy economy that protects our water and health is vital to our future resiliency and prosperity.”

Earthjustice
“Earthjustice is calling for long-term economic recovery and a just and equitable transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy that creates high-paying jobs, combats climate change, and reduces pollution in overburdened communities nationwide. We must rebuild our economy sustainably and equitably to create a future we all want for our families and communities — particularly those that have borne the brunt of a historically unjust system. This is an opportunity to stimulate the creation of jobs and chart a cleaner and more just and equitable future for communities nationwide, particularly for those who have historically been overburdened by dangerous pollution.”

Brent. J. Cohen, Executive Director, Generation Progress
“In the wake of the public health emergency and economic recession caused by COVID-19 that disproportionately impacts young people of color, it will be critical to develop a recovery plan that provides relief to individuals, families, and our economy while also prioritizing environmental justice. Generation Progress is proud to join the Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities to advocate for the types of bold solutions that young Americans are calling for to fight climate change and provide the resources our communities need to stay safe and healthy.”

Rev. Susan Hendershot, President, The Regeneration Project, Interfaith Power & Light
“People in our communities are suffering from the interconnected realities of a global pandemic, systemic racism, and the climate crisis. There is a moral imperative for Congress to act in this moment in ways that bring health, healing, jobs, and justice to the people.”

Aaron Lehman, President of the Iowa Farmers Union
"Rural residents deserve to live in safe and healthy communities. We know that COVID-19 relief should build for the future and directly benefit those families and workers that have been hit the hardest by the pandemic. IFU is excited to be a part of the Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities as we make these demands for a brighter tomorrow."

Gene Karpinski, President, League of Conservation Voters
“Our nation is in pain due to the growing economic and health risks from the global pandemic and the deep racial and social injustices ingrained in our nation’s systems and institutions. The racist political and economic forces that perpetuate police violence against Black communities, expose communities of color to higher levels of toxic pollution, and put communities of color at higher risk of death from coronavirus are the same. Congressional action must prioritize protecting families and workers most impacted by these intertwined crises, and focus on investments that build cleaner, more resilient and equitable communities, protect public health, improve built and natural infrastructure, and create good, high-quality jobs and a stronger economy.”

Marc Coles-Ritchie, Chair, Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance (MESA)
“The environment and climate of this planet sustain and inspire us. As followers of Jesus Christ, we reverence the creation and know that we have a responsibility to care for the environment and the life it supports. We are committed to working to reduce pollution that impairs air and water quality, and causes health problems for so many, particularly Black, Indigenous and People of Color. We feel sorrow and remorse for the suffering of those marginalized communities and want to undo the wrongs done to them. We urge governments, businesses, communities and families to do more to convert to clean energy sources, to reduce emissions that diminish air quality and cause climate chaos. We urge greater protection of forests, grassland, rivers, lakes, oceans, and all of the amazing ecosystems of this planet. We are pleased to join forces with many different groups in this critical effort."

Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, FACP, President & CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association
“The National Hispanic Medical Association supports the Coalition for Clean Energy and Healthy Communities that will decrease toxic air pollution and improve health & quality of life of Latinos.”

Tara Losoff, Senior Director of Organizing and Campaigns, the National Wildlife Federation
“It’s simply unacceptable in this day and age that suffering Americans are left shouting into the wind while those who have the power to act bury their heads in the sand. It is vital for the health and prosperity of our communities, as well as our land, air, water and wildlife, that we invest in solutions that benefit not just some, but all Americans. Right now, Congress has an opportunity to put people back to work in jobs that rebuild our economy and propel us into a clean energy future so that we may come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient than before.”

Gina McCarthy, President and CEO of NRDC (the Natural Resources Defense Council)
“Our nation is in crisis, and we need solutions that match the challenges of the time. It’s time for our leaders to invest in the kind of future we want for our children--one that is healthier, more equitable and more prosperous. Congress must ensure the next stimulus package invests in that better tomorrow by speeding the move away from fossil fuels toward a clean energy economy. These industries are job-creating powerhouses that can get our economy humming again, make our air safer to breathe and avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis.”  

Jeff Carter, Executive Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility
“All people deserve to live in a safe and healthy community. The strategies we are employing today to address the current public health crisis can and should be coupled with investments in healthy clean energy, transportation, and land use systems. We can deliver both immediate and sustained health benefits to all by reducing the health impacts of climate change, and reduce health disparities in our society by aligning this work with the push for environmental justice.”

David Arkush, Climate Program Director, Public Citizen
“The pandemic has shown that we are vulnerable and unprepared for the types of crisis that will become ever more common until we handle the climate emergency. It also has exposed the gross inequality and injustice in how benefits and burdens are distributed in our society. Congress needs to address both sets of problems in stimulus and recovery legislation—and the best way to do that is to build a more equitable and just economy with investments that move us rapidly toward a safe and sustainable climate.”

Liz Perera, Climate Policy Director, Sierra Club
"The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans while highlighting and exacerbating the systemic racism and inequalities plaguing the country. Congress cannot wait any longer -- they must act and act swiftly. We will work tirelessly to ensure that Congress meets this moment by investing in our communities, our health, and our future.”

Jamie Williams, President, The Wilderness Society
“At this pivotal moment, there’s tremendous potential to put people to work protecting and restoring our public lands, climate, and communities and addressing inequities in who has access to nature and who faces the burdens of pollution.   During the pandemic, we’ve seen an immense surge in the need and demand for parks and other public lands.  Our forests, parks and wild places provide clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, opportunities for recreation, and local economic strength.  Investing in these places now will help rebuild our communities, restore public health, and create new jobs.”

Will Gartshore, Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy, World Wildlife Fund
“Our country is facing a set of historic and intersecting challenges – an ongoing pandemic, a faltering economy, deeply rooted racial injustice, and an ever-growing climate crisis. We have an opportunity to respond with solutions that will allow us to build back better and position our nation to be more equitable, more resilient, and ultimately more prosperous. As Congress works to revitalize the American economy and protect the American people, it should prioritize investments that are environmentally smart and sustainable, promote healthier and more resilient communities, support a just transition to a clean energy economy, and address long-standing disparities and inequities, including issues of environmental justice. The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that the health of nature, the health of people, and the health of our economy are all deeply connected, and this fact should guide and inform the U.S. government’s response, recovery, and economic stimulus efforts now and in the coming months.” 
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Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

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