U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, the New Jersey Democrat who is one of two major Black candidates in the 2020 White House race, says he will focus on environmental justice during his campaign, CBS News is reporting.
Booker, the former mayor of Newark, unveiled specifics Friday of his “environmental justice plan” in a statement, according to CBS. In the statement, he said he would take steps to strengthen the power of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
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“The Trump administration has gutted the EPA, rolled back clean air and clean water protections, and allowed polluters to go unchecked, causing immense harm and suffering to vulnerable communities,” Booker said.
Under Booker’s plan, companies would pay for the pollution they cause, EPA staff would get a boost, fees to coal mine operators for the cleanup of abandoned mines would be doubled and enforcement standards would be heightened within the Safe Water Drinking Act, CBS reported.
Booker has been making the case for environmental justice — the concept that poorer communities and communities of color tend to take the brunt of environmental harm — since he was mayor of New Jersey’s largest city, which has seen its share of environmental issues, from 2006 to 2013.
He has especially been making that case since announcing Feb. 1 that he was entering the White House race.
On Monday, Earth Day, Booker joined two other Democratic U.S. senators — Tammy Duckworth of Illinois and Tom Carper of Delaware — in announcing the formation of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus, The Hill reported.
The caucus will raise awareness of environmental justice issues that affect low-income areas and people of color, according to The Hill.
In a statement, Booker said, “Clean air and clean water shouldn’t be luxuries for the privileged, and the Environmental Justice Caucus is an important step toward raising awareness and taking action to address the injustice.”
Earlier this year, Booker also signed onto the Green New Deal, a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions and rely more on green energy, CBS News reported.