(AKA - the Environmental Justice Bill)
Sponsors: Del. Clarence Lam and (expected) Sen. Victor Ramirez
Description of the Legislation:
The REDUCE legislation is designed to increase community engagement when new sources of air pollution are being sited in low income or minority communities.
The bill would require that information about increased truck traffic associated with the new site be shared with community members, so that mitigating arrangements such as rerouting can be considered.
Also it calls for information about the relationship between health disparities and air pollution be shared with communities, to the extent available.
“From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required.” (Luke 12:48) Without question, vulnerable populations do not have the time, resources, or connections needed to stay abreast of permitting issues in their community - even when it will directly impact their lives and property values. Think of how hard it is to stay on top of emails and local news...imagine trying to do all that while simultaneously worrying about crime, drug use, and other immediate dangers in your own back yard.
It seems appropriate to ask industry and government to go above and beyond to ensure that under-served groups who could be impacted by newly permitted industrial operations be well-informed. If we do not stand in solidarity with our under-served brothers and sister in our midst, how can we claim to be stewards of all Creation?
To stay abreast of this legislation, you may wish to connect with the Maryland Environmental Health Network.