Friday, June 22, 2018

Congresswoman seeks Florida district's input on EPA's 'Justice' vision plan

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL)
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) | Contributed photo

In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s call for input on the Environmental Justice 2020 Action Agenda, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) launched a series of community discussions on Thursday to collect feedback from the Tampa Bay area.

“Environmental Justice ensures all communities, families and individuals enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards,” Castor said. “We have an opportunity to assist in developing forward-thinking policies that recognize how environmental protection, health and economic development interact, especially among our under-resourced communities.”

The discussions were an important way for local officials to communicate both environmental-justice issues and EPA-related successes in their communities. For example, leaders from Pinellas County highlighted the high levels of emergency-room visits related to asthma and related health conditions, issues that often affect lower-income and minority segments of the population disproportionately. Officials from Hillsborough County hailed the positive impact felt by the EPA’s Brownfields program, an environmental cleanup and redevelopment program, celebrating the economic development that has come with hosting 51 Brownfield sites.

“While Republicans in Congress have historically aimed at slashing funding support for the EPA, Tampa Bay has benefited greatly from its grants and programs, and stands to benefit even more with comprehensive policies that advance environmental justice,” Castor said.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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